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SEATTLE  — Washington health officials on Wednesday removed seven deaths from the state’s official COVID-19 mortality count, including three homicides.

The Department of Health said it had been counting as coronavirus deaths all people who died and tested positive for the disease. Authorities say they have now removed deaths from the count that weren’t caused specifically by COVID-19.

Those deaths included three homicides, two suicides and two overdoses. The department said four of the deaths were in King County and three were in Yakima County.

With the revisions, the state now reports that at least 1,226 people have died from COVID-19. Nearly 26,800 have tested positive.

The Department of Health, over the next few weeks, also plans to expand how it reports deaths to identify whether they can confirm or rule-out COVID-19 as a contributing cause of death, including identifying probable and suspected deaths. Authorities say the change will provide an “even more accurate” cost of COVID-19 deaths in the state and offer additional context.

Also Wednesday the department said since April 21 it had been including negative antibody test results along with negative molecular test results in the total negative tests.

“This has incorrectly inflated our reporting of individuals who have tested negative for COVID-19,” the department said.

Molecular tests gauge whether a person has an active infection, while antibody tests help determine whether someone was exposed to the coronavirus in the past.

After correcting for the error, health officials say the actual cumulative positive percentage for people tested in Washington state increased to 6.2% from 5.5%.

Also Wednesday, authorities said Grays Harbor County has been approved to move into Phase 3 of easing of Gov. Jay Inslee’s coronavirus restrictions. Authorities say there are now three counties in Phase 1, three counties in a modified version of Phase 1, 21 counties in Phase 2 and 12 counties in Phase 3.

The three counties that remain in Phase 1 — Benton, Franklin and Yakima — are only allowed to let essential businesses open, must limit outdoor recreation and keep restaurant service to takeout and delivery. Two other counties — Chelan and Douglas — are in a modified Phase 1 of reopening.

The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

(15) comments

darling

Yay...The general Public is not an uneducated Moron. Political standing. Control issues. Stupidity. Ludicrous, Inane.

Wrango

This is glorious! I called it from the start. This has been nothing but a political rodeo from the start. Political careers are built and destroyed with this BS. And don't forget, a liberal Dem. never lets a good disaster go to waste! Biggest sham since "weapons of mass destruction"!

Cheburashka

7/1200. Wow. What a scandal!! Maybe there will be 8!!! Or even 12!!! Imagine that. A 1% error. Why, that would completely invalidate their entire methodology. Well, except that they've acknowledged those seven for weeks now... Oh, and WMD was Republicans, remember?

EducatedAmerican

I posted where a guy was killed in a meth lab explosion and the health dept. put him in the died from CV19 because he unknowingly had the virus. iFiber took down my post. There will be more taken off the list of dying from CV19. Another one is a head on collision that killed a man but he also unknowingly had the virus. 5 died in Grant County from CV19 and 4 died of Flu. The health care facilities aren't over run. The state got rid of the Safeco field hospital, sent off all the ventilators they had to have. Come on Jay Inslee, man up and tell everyone how you only wanted to get your name out there because no one knew who your were, or cared, when your tried for the Presidency.

Cheburashka

So tell me--how low does the death count have to be before you deem it insignificant? If it's down to 1500, do those folks not matter? What if it drops to 1200? I doubt that it will, but it seems like you're implying that if we take away enough false positives, the true ones won't matter anymore. What's your magic number?

Wrango

Thousands of people die every year of the flu. It happens. Stop being an azz.

Cheburashka

Comparing nationwide figures to Washington figures again? And you think you can criticize other people's math?

cryingtoddlerlibs

Please stop harrasing people..you just don't get it..Yakima has been in phase 1 since the Washington's dear leader proclamation. Has it helped? NOPE! Has it created a welfare state? YES...I suppose you agree with having an area like "CHOP" in Seattle too right.

Cheburashka

Pointing out math errors and the flaws in other people's logic is not harassment. It's argumentation.

Having a handle like "cryingtoddlerlibs"? Well...you be the judge.

JohnQPublic

Only 7?

Carlo's

Bet they wait awhile and change more. They don't want to make themselves look to bad by changing more than a few at a time.

Cheburashka

They want to have an accurate account. That's all.

cryingtoddlerlibs

Whoa!!! Wait a minute...didn't Jay inslee brush that off with a not so witty statement? " well I guess they are trying to say 897 deaths are not important" This is our governor folks..what a clueless.......well you know the rest

Javier

Obviously Inslee care about American live which is why he is doing stages of reopening for counties. It Trump that does not care about the over 110,000 American lives lost so far. With Trump wanting everything reopened it just showed Trump favors profits over American Lives.

Cheburashka

Well? Isn't that what you're saying? That 7 misattributed deaths are more important to you than 1200-plus that are correctly attributed?

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