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LDH now reporting probable COVID-19 deaths under new CDC guidance

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 19:22:33-04

The Louisiana Department of Health is now reporting reporting both confirmed COVID-19 deaths and probable COVID-19 deaths on its dashboard after recent guidance from the CDC.

According to LDH, it defines a confirmed COVID-19 death as a death with a positive lab result. Probable COVID-19 deaths are deaths identified by coroners and/or physicians as COVID-19 deaths or as probable/suspected/possible COVID-19 deaths without a positive lab result.

The department says the number of probable COVID-19 deaths could change if pending test results turn out positive or negative.

As of April 22, LDH reports 59 probable COVID-19 deaths.

LDH says on its COVID-19 dashboard that deaths reported include a cumulative count of COVID-19 deaths.

Health officials have said that spikes in cases can be due to a delay of testing results coming in to LDH, and that cases reported each day don't necessarily occur within a 24 hour period.

LDH says that probable COVID-19 deaths are deaths identified by coroners and/or physicians as COVID-19 deaths or as probable/suspected/possible COVID-19 deaths without a lab positive result.

According to LDH, this number could change if pending test results turn out positive or negative. Probable death counts will be updated weekly.

The CDC guidelines for reporting COVID-19 deaths states:

In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID–19 cannot be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate as “probable” or “presumed.” In these instances, certifiers should use their best clinical judgement in determining if a COVID–19 infection was likely. However, please note that testing for COVID–19 should be conducted whenever possible.

As of noon on Wednesday, April 22, LDH reports a total of 1,473 people have died of the COVID-19 disease in Louisiana. This is 68 more deaths than were reported yesterday.

As of April 20, 56.25% of COVID-19 deaths to date were among African American residents and 34.34% were among white residents. The most common underlying conditions among COVID-19 deaths to date are hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. This data is updated every Monday.

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