ADH explains COVID-19 deaths

KNWA

"In my eyes, you probably won't have an accurate count of deaths until the third or fourth month into 2021," Washington County Coroner Roger Morris said.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On Friday, August 21, Arkansas reported 22 new COVID-19 deaths in a 24-hour period, but many medical professionals and coroners claim that number is even higher.

We’re up to 90 deaths, the state has us at like 50 something.

ROGER MORRIS, CORONER, WASHINGTON COUNTY 

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, as on August 21, 53 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Washington County, but the county’s coroner said he’s working nearly twice that amount.

We’re probably averaging about 30 COVID-19 deaths in the last three months, every month.

ROGER MORRIS, CORONER, WASHINGTON COUNTY 

Washington County Coroner, Roger Morris, said in the county alone there are 90 COVID-19 deaths he’s signed off on.

“There’s a lot of things that go into separating the COVID-19 deaths,” Morris said. “They are behind in my eyes.”

He’s been working around the clock, while this deadly virus has been claiming the lives of the state’s most vulnerable.

“In a month and a half, we’re already in the double digits from nursing facilities,” he said.

This draws attention to the importance of maintaining this population, these vulnerable patients in isolation, and protecting them as much as possible.

DR. JOSE ROMERO, ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF HEALTH

Arkansas Department of Health State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, said with any infectious disease it’s likely there are more cases of COVID-19.

“If someone wasn’t having symptoms at the time and suppose they died suddenly of a stroke, people might not realize that COVID-19 contributed to that stroke if they weren’t tested or had that diagnosis,” she said. “It might not be possible in every case.”

She said it can take weeks to get a final death certificate and adding all the different health problems COVID-19 contributes to that can cause a person to die, she said the state is doing the best it can.

We know how we classify and track deaths is never perfect, but nevertheless, we’ve done a good job and the deaths that we do report are accurate.

DR. JENNIFER DILLAHA, STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST, ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

KNWA/FOX 24 News asked her what she thought the difference in COVID-19 deaths reported could be.

“Do you think that number is significant?

I don’t have a very good feel what that number is like right now.

DR. JENNIFER DILLAHA, STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST, ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

She said there’s still too much left unknown about this virus to tell.

“There’s a number of things that COVID-19 can do to the body and we are still learning about them,” she said.

FILE

At the end of the day, Morris said it’s not about the numbers, but it’s more about protecting those around you.

“Always be aware of your surroundings and when you can, please wear a mask,” he said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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