The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) on Monday (March 14) updated its criteria for defining a COVID-19 death which will reduce the state’s tally by thousands.
Under the old guidance, if COVID-19 appeared as a cause of death on someone’s death certificate or if they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 within 60 days of death, their death counted in the statewide tally.
The updated guidance will shorten the window of a positive diagnosis from 60 days to 30 days to count as a COVID death.
Massachusetts has had more than 1.5 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic with nearly 23,000 deaths, according to DPH data released last week.
However, that number has just decreased by 3,700 to fewer than 20,000 COVID-19 deaths.