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Tamil Nadu govt orders audit on death toll as around 200 deaths go unreported

Mumbai | Updated on June 11, 2020 Published on June 11, 2020

Beela Rajesh, Health Secretary of Tamil Nadu (File photo)   -  The Hindu

The Tamil Nadu government has ordered the authorities to conduct an audit in the state capital Chennai as it came to know that almost 200 deaths went unreported and were not incorporated on the official toll of the State, a senior health official told Indian Express.

The official informed that the “preliminary assessment” was based on the city’s corporation records. Tamil Nadu had reported 326 Covid deaths till Wednesday evening, including 260 within Chennai city limits alone.

Officials put this on the “procedural gaps” since Chennai’s corporation registry does not have any system in place to report deaths to the government regularly.

State’s Health Secretary Beela Rajesh denied that the government intentionally manipulated the number to report a lesser toll from the state. He said that a “nine-member reconciliation committee to streamline Covid-19 deaths data will look into all such cases.”

“We don’t have to hide the death data, we cannot do that. We have been accurately reporting all Covid-19 deaths as reported from hospitals in the public and private sector. Following latest reports that there were several deaths that were not reported, we have formed this committee to assess all these alleged Covid-19 deaths in city limits,” she said as cited in the Indian Express report.

Rajesh said that the government is yet to ascertain the number of deaths that did not make it to the official toll as the committee was “still collecting data.”

“Even if we have an efficient system to collect data from all hospitals including medical colleges and private hospitals about Covid-19 deaths, the system on the ground has had no practice of reporting deaths on a daily basis before the Covid outbreak. We suspect that these alleged deaths were cases such as home deaths or those that happened at private clinics,” she said.

According to a corporation official quoted in the Indian Express, “there were lapses” in updating the city’s death and birth registry regularly due to a staff crunch and the additional workload of managing the lockdown and over 1,000 containment zones.

“After the outbreak started, there were delays in compiling this data. Probably, this led to the mismatch,” the official said.

Tamil Nadu added another 1,927 cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, taking its tally to 36,841.

The day also saw 1,008 persons being discharged from hospitals across the State — the highest number of persons to be discharged on a single day. With this, a total of 19,333 persons have been discharged till now in the State.

However, the Covid-19 toll continued to increase with 19 more fatalities — 12 in government hospitals and seven in private hospitals. This took the total number of deaths in the State to 326. Fifteen of the deceased had co-morbidities, The Hindu reported.

: Tamil Nadu, deaths, coronavirus, COVID-19

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Published on June 11, 2020
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