Health Board revises coronavirus death toll downwards, from 69 to 63

Health Board logo.
Health Board logo. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

On Saturday, the Health Board (Terviseamet) corrected the amount of deaths recorded directly the result of COVID-19 in Estonia from 69, to 63. The change largely results from post-mortem data, such as toxicology, coming to light. The board is also planning further research to specify all deaths related to the coronavirus.

Preliminary data for 2020 from the registry for causes of death, managed by the National Institute for Health Development (TAI), shows that in the first six months of 2020, there were 63 deaths caused by the coronavirus, and not the 69 previously reported.

Eike Kingsepp, spokesperson for the Health Board, said that there is also a death that has been marked down as COVID-19-related, but not as the root cause.

Kingsepp told ERR: "Because the TAI's data is checked and validated afterwards, the amount of COVID-19 caused deaths in Estonia will be counted as 63 going forward."

She explained that a root cause of death constitutes a disease, complication or injury that eventually led to the sequence of events culminating in death. "The root cause can change if the doctor has additional information that comes to light later - histology, toxicology or microbiology analyses. The new root cause is then sent to the health information system.

"The registry for causes of death updates every working day electronically after a doctor fills out a notice of cause of death."

Kingsepp added that two experienced doctor-programmers assess all notices according to rules set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

She concluded by saying that the Health Board is planning research to assess the deaths of everyone who had given a positive COVID-19 test earlier, in order to specify whether the person died because of the coronavirus or to the coronavirus.

No deaths relating to COVID-19 have been recorded in Estonia for over two months.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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