The number of coronavirus-related deaths at some Pennsylvania nursing homes has been lowered after the state updated the definition for what qualifies as a COVID-19 death.
Under the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s new “recovered” definition, providers don’t have to count residents as COVID-19 deaths if they successfully recovered from the disease before they passed. The update has allowed for several facilities to reduce their death counts, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The state’s updated definition of a COVID-19 death came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according agency spokesman Nate Wardle. He told the news organization that fatalities are considered a COVID-19 death if the medical certifier reported the disease as the underlying cause or a significant contributor to the death.
However, the CDC noted that its definition on classifying COVID-19 deaths doesn’t use any one factor, including if a person recovered from the disease, in deciding the cause of death, according to the report. Experts also added that the state’s interpretation could skew COVID-19 data.