New Jersey adds nearly 1,900 suspected COVID-19 deaths to state death toll

New Jersey health officials say that nearly 1,900 people likely died of COVID-19 in the state but were not initially counted in the state’s death toll.

News 12 Staff

Jun 25, 2020, 8:35 PM

Updated 1,394 days ago

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New Jersey health officials say that nearly 1,900 people likely died of COVID-19 in the state but were not initially counted in the state’s death toll.
Gov. Phil Murphy said on Thursday that state health officials recently completed a review of thousands of death certificates of people who died with coronavirus symptoms despite not having been tested.
“We know there are those upon whom a COVID-19 test was never performed, even though the underlying symptoms and causes of death point to the probability that they did in fact have COVID-19,” Murphy said.
The total amounted to 1,854 people, or about 14% of the overall death toll. That means the combined death toll of those confirmed with the virus and suspected cases stands at 14,872.
“We have not seen any evidence there have been any deaths in New Jersey prior to our first known case,” said Dr. Ed Lifshitz.
Watch: Full New Jersey COVID-19 press briefing
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The previous death toll of just over 13,000 included lab-confirmed coronavirus cases. Lifshitz says that his review encompasses those fatalities for which a less specific test was done and those who died from known outbreaks including those from long-term care facilities. But Lifshitz says that the new cases added to the toll come from his team combing death certificates to clear up discrepancies.
“After somebody dies, a physician has to certify a cause of death. We have thousands of physicians in this state. Sometimes that happens faster and more accurately than others. Sometimes that information needs to be cleaned up, sometimes it's not clear,” he said.
Photos: Your Coronavirus Pandemic Experience
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Murphy says that these reviews will continue.
“We do not anticipate that this number will grow significantly. However, some changes are to be expected, and we will be reporting on the number of probable deaths every week,” the governor said.
Officials say that just under a third of the newly reported deaths are from long-term care facilities and nursing homes.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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