Pa. Department of Health causing confusion with new COVID-19 tracking system

Local News

HARRISBURG, Pa, (WHTM) — Many Pennsylvanians found themselves in a state of confusion after the Department of Health released Thursday’s COVID-19 data.

During Thursday’s Department of the Health press briefing, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced the total number of confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 is 1,421.

However, on Wednesday, the total death count recorded by the department was 1,622. That’s 201 more than Thursday’s report of 1,421.

Some Pennsylvanians took to Twitter and Facebook to express their frustrations over the complicated math.

To add to the confusion the department issued a press release to media outlets earlier Thursday stating that the total deaths confirmed statewide are 1,394. The initial press release did not include the 27 probable deaths which were later included in the press briefing to bring the total count to 1,421

So, is the Department of Health just ‘dead wrong’ with the figures they are putting out, or is there another explanation to all this?

Dr. Levine explained in Thursday’s press briefing the reason for the decrease in the death count. According to Levine, Wednesday’s total death toll of 1622 included the probable death cases in the overall death count. Thursday’s total death toll of 1421 subtracted probable deaths from the equation after “continued data reconciliation work.”

“As of 12 a.m. today there are 1,421 total COVID-19 deaths, so this is an actual decrease of 201 than what was reported yesterday. And that reflects that the probable deaths have been removed from the count because of further investigations,” said Levine.


“At times there are things we need to review and potentially revisit the way the data is being analyzed and this is one of those times,” said Levine.

On Friday, The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed an additional 1,599 positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 38,652. All 67 counties in Pennsylvania have cases of COVID-19.

The state is now reporting 1,492 confirmed deaths in Pennsylvania.

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Pennsylvania COVID-19 Map

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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