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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

250 COVID deaths attributed to a backlog of data

Iowa Department of Public Health says the unusually high 24-hour death total includes deaths dating back to October.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — The 250 COVID-19 deaths reported on the state’s website Sunday date as far back as October, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

IDPH said the unusual increase was due to a change in the way the state reports coronavirus deaths, as well as the processing time for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“As we noted in December when we aligned our method for calculating deaths to the CDC, there can be substantial processing time with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS),” an IDPH spokesperson told Local 5. “NCHS does "cause of death" coding for all US states and territories.”

The 24-hour death total of 250 actually came from a backlog of state data going back to Oct. 15, the agency added.  

The number, 250, actually came from a backlog of data in the state, dating back to Oct. 15.

The only way a coronavirus death used to be counted in Iowa was if it specifically came from an underlying cause of the virus. In December, that was changed to include contributing factors in the overall death count.