DHEC reports backlog of virus-related deaths due to system errors

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Thursday was unable to provide an accurate number of virus-related deaths due to an issue with its reporting system.

While the state health agency reported nearly 3,000 new cases, they said a system upgrade with their Office of Vital Statistics led to delays in deaths being reported in a timely fashion by coroners and other medical certifiers who confirm and record death information in the state.

DHEC first announced enhancement to the system in December, and despite it operating smoothly during trials, the agency said on Thursday their Vital Records became aware of system glitches when the system went live in early January.

They immediately contacted the vendor and system users to have the problems fixed as quickly as possible.

“While the vendor worked to remedy the issues, DHEC’s Office of Vital Records dedicated a 24-hour phone number to assist coroners and others who use the database. The updated Vital Statistics system is now fully operational,” the agency said.

Because of the issues, DHEC announced more than 200 confirmed deaths for individuals who died over the last several weeks.

You can see a detailed breakdown of each death by date here. The state’s fourth pediatric death is included in this reporting, occurring on January 23.

More than 6,900 South Carolinians have died because of COVID-19.

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