Alameda County revises COVID-19 death count by 25%

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Alameda County has revised its COVID-19 death count, saying it over-counted more than 400 cases.

As of Friday, the Alameda County Health department had reported 1,634 COVID-19 deaths, but later that day it was revised down to 1,223.

RELATED: Newsom unveils $116.5M COVID vaccine incentive plan ahead of state's June 15 reopening

According to the Health Department, the 25% decrease was made to comply with the state's definition of a COVID-19 death, which requires COVID-19 to be a direct or contributing factor or a situation in which it can't be ruled out.

In a press release, Neetu Balram with the Alameda County Health Department wrote, "Alameda County previously included any person who died while infected with the virus in the total COVID-19 deaths for the county."

As an example, Balram explained "a resident who had COVID-19 but died due to another cause, like a car accident, this person would be included in the total number of reported COVID-19 deaths for Alameda County."

UCSF Epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford has been closely studying data from around the country. He said he's unsure why Alameda counted so many incidents in that way for so long, but points out the county was forced to design their own reporting criteria before the state created a unified system.

"I'm betting it's very specific to Alameda County, which had a lot of cases early on and had to do a lot of on-the-fly definitions and systems and now they are being brought into alignment," said Rutherford.

See more stories and videos about Building a Better Bay Area here.

VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window.

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.