ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland underreported hundreds of COVID-19 deaths over the past year, officials revealed Thursday.
The Maryland Department of Health's Vital Statistics Administration says 517 deaths were miscoded or misclassified by medical certifiers, resulting in the cases not being properly accounted for.
Additionally, 21 cases were reclassified to "probable" meaning that COVID-19 likely caused the person's death.
Officials identified the discrepancy through maintenance exercises and information reconciliation processes using other sources of data.
The administration says it's in the process of re-issuing guidance for coding protocols to medical certifiers.
“When necessary, our epidemiologists make adjustments to reported health data as information is reviewed, verified, and corrected,” said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Jinlene Chan. “It is important for medical certifiers to closely follow CDC guidance when reporting COVID-19 deaths. This data is critical for the public and the public health community, and our systems and processes are designed to ensure accuracy and transparency in our reporting to the public.”
With the revision -- 9,368 Maryland residents have died of COVID-19.
Families who lost a loved one due to COVID-19 may be eligible to recoup funeral expenses through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
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