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Coroner COVID-19 Death Reporting

The pandemic death toll has been staggering,and here in Pennsylvania its triggered a long running dispute about the reporting of COVID-19 deaths.

County coroners from across Pennsylvania meeting here in Centre County this week,and aging they’re talking about an issue that’s come to the forefront during the pandemic. It involves what
seems to be a simple issue between the state’s health department and the coroners.

But turns out its not that simple,and again is the subject of pending state legislation county coroners are elected public officials in each of the state’s 67 counties.generally they
investigate suspicious deaths such as homicides or suicides. They work closely with police, doctors,and others involved.

“We are the boots on the often were not considered as first responders,but we are. sometimes were in worse environments than you actually have in the emergency department.”

With the pandemic, the state health department doesn’t always notify coroners about covid related deaths. But the coroners say they want to be involved in those investigations,that there’s
lags in reporting and they’re better equipped to notify responders,doctors,even families if they have the information. The issue hinges on the fact that the state terms covid deaths as
natural deaths

“That caused a lot of confusion during the pandemic,this just continued for the past 15 months in our offices in dealing with covid deaths.the senate bill 327 will provide coroners
access to the pa. dept of health electronic death registry system”

The coroners disagree strongly with the state’s claim that the current reporting system works faster without including the coroners
a similar bill, specifically calling for better reporting to Pennsylvania’s coroners about covid deaths, was vetoed last year by Governor Wolf.

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