RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina has added more than 1,100 COVID-19 deaths to its running total after making a change in the way those fatalities are reported.
The state Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday said the updates will push the total for the pandemic past 24,000.
The switch to an electronic reporting system resulted in 1,146 more deaths between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2022, with COVID-19 as the cause on the death certificate and with a positive COVID test.
The agency says they will be added to the dashboard Wednesday as part of its next weekly update.
North Carolina had been one of the last two states that still relied on paper death certificates that were filed by hand, weren’t available for months and could not be linked to the COVID reporting system.
Those deaths had been reported by doctors or hospitals and after local public health departments investigated those cases.
The new system — the North Carolina Database Application for Vital Events, or NCDAVE — started accepting death certificates electronically on Jan. 1, and now will be linked with COVID reporting system data every month.
NCDHHS says the new system allows funeral homes, medical certifiers and medical examiners to file death records electronically in a more timely fashion and eliminates the need for physical handling and transfer of paper certificates.
“The electronic reporting system will help us identify deaths more systematically and better track the impact of COVID-19 over time,” said ClarLynda Williams-DeVane, the director of the state center for health statistics.