Florida Health Officials Question COVID-19 Death Data

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MIAMI — Florida health officials held off of releasing their normal coronavirus update Wednesday as they announced a more thorough review of all fatalities reported to the state.

Fatality data reported to the state consistently present confusion and warrant a more rigorous review, according to a Florida Department of Health news release. Of the 95 fatalities reported to the state Tuesday, which would have been released publicly Wednesday, 11 of the deaths occurred more than a month ago. Also, 16 deaths had more than a two-month separation between the time the individuals tested positive and passed away, and five of those had a gap of more than three months.

“During a pandemic, the public must be able to rely on accurate public health data to make informed decisions,” Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said in a statement. “To ensure the accuracy of COVID-19 related deaths, the Department will be performing additional reviews of all deaths. Timely and accurate data remains a top priority of the Department of Health.”

Palm Beach County had 50 of the 95 coronavirus deaths reported Tuesday, health officials said. That nearly doubled a previous one-day record of 27 deaths in August.

Since the outbreak began in Florida in March, the state has recorded more than 760,000 cases – just behind the country’s two most populous states, California and Texas. Health officials reported more than 16,300 people have died from Florida cases.

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