In June, media and activists had flagged discrepancies in the number of deaths reported in the daily medical bulletin of the state government.

444 COVID-19 deaths that were missed earlier in Chennai added to state tally after reconciliation. Image for representation/PTI
Coronavirus Deaths Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 19:35

Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan on Wednesday said that the deaths of 444 persons that were missed in the state’s tally will be added to the list of persons who died due to COVID-19. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, he said that these deaths occurred between March 1 and June 10 and were not accounted for earlier. The numbers were arrived at, by a Death Reconciliation Committee set up by the state government, which submitted its report.

“As per Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, all deaths of those who tested positive for the coronavirus must be declared as COVID-19 deaths -- irrespective of underlying or antecedent cause of death. Therefore, a committee was constituted to compare death details from institutions and death details obtained from burial grounds,” the state government’s daily bulletin said on Wednesday.

“The committee has recommended that an additional 444 deaths would also fall under the category of COVID-19 death as per ICMR guidelines, though such cases were medically considered deaths due to comorbidity or other terminal illness,” it added.

Radhakrishnan also said that a weekly reconciliation report will be submitted henceforth on the deaths in Chennai, based on the orders of the Chief Minister.

Earlier in June, the Times of India published a report which said that there were at least 236 deaths that are yet to be added to the state’s tally of COVID-19 victims. The death register maintained by the Greater Chennai Corporation had, as of June 8, recorded 460 deaths due to COVID-19, while the Directorate of Public Health’s tally stood at 224.

A nine-member committee headed by Dr P Vadivelan, the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, was formed to reconcile the deaths and report the actual figures of mortality linked to COVID-19 in the city.

The number of people who died in Tamil Nadu due to COVID-19 therefore stands at 3,144 as of Wednesday.