COVID-19 death count drops

State keeps adjusting case numbers

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With the consistently inconsistent and ever-evolving way the state of Texas reports COVID-19 case information, the number of reported deaths from the virus in Austin County has dropped from four to three.

Without any explanation offered, the state, which last week reported four deaths, lowered the number to three this week. Those deaths occurred on April 25, July 15, and July 23. The updated numbers befuddled County Judge Tim Lapham.

“Showing 83 active cases but by some means or another, we only have three deaths instead of the four or five,” he said in an update on July 31. “I know they didn’t make a miraculous recovery! I don't want to even speculate but I’m hoping it was just a data entry error or further investigation changed the results.”

As of Aug. 3, there are 442,014 cases in 250 counties across the state.

According to the Texas Tribune, the first death linked to the coronavirus in Texas occurred March 16 in Matagorda County. As of Aug. 3, 7,016 people who tested positive for the virus have died.

“The rate of deaths in Texas has been accelerating. It took 53 days to get from the first death to 1,000 deaths and 39 days to get from 1,000 to 2,000 deaths. On July 10, the state surpassed 3,000 deaths — 24 days after 2,000 deaths were reported. It took only 10 more days for Texas to reach 4,000 deaths and only six days after that to reach 5,000,” the online newspaper reported.

The paper said experts feel the official state death toll is likely an undercount.

“On July 27, DSHS began reporting deaths based on death certificates that state the cause of death as COVID-19, instead of relying on counts released by local and regional health departments. On that date, the state added more than 400 previously unreported deaths to the cumulative total. This does not include the deaths of people with COVID-19 who died of an unrelated cause. Death certificates are required by law to be filed within 10 days,” the Tribune said.

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