Change in Covid-19 counting method sees surge in case and death data

Deaths provided by funeral homes are now being counted in the overall numbers

A worker cleans an intensive care unit in Barcelona's Hospital del Mar (by Laura Fíguls)
A worker cleans an intensive care unit in Barcelona's Hospital del Mar (by Laura Fíguls) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 16, 2020 10:43 AM

A change in the method of counting Covid-19 data on Wednesday, April 15, has seen a surge in the number of recorded deaths caused by the coronavirus. 

The Catalan ministry of health now counts the daily information provided by funeral homes, which since the beginning of the crisis have seen 7,097 deaths, counting people who have died in health centers, residences, nursing homes, social health centers or their homes. 

Previously Catalonia's department of health only counted figures from people who passed away in health centers. Before the change in methodology, that number stood at 3,756 on Tuesday, and 3,855 on Wednesday, a rise of 99.

The ministry says that the goal of accounting change is to take a picture of the situation "as transparently as possible." 

Until now, official data was provided on the people who died from the pandemic in health centers, however, it was not possible to add the two figures because it was not precisely known how many of those people died in the same residence and which in a health center.

Other new data

Another change in the data offered daily by the department of health related to the coronavirus crisis is that from now on the number of possible cases of Covid-19 can be offered, according to the clinical suspicion reported by any medical professional, both in and outside residences. 

At the moment there are 55,457 possible cases. The number of positive cases confirmed on Wednesday is 39,375, so the two figures add up to a total of 94,832 cases.

On the other hand, since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 2,798 in a serious condition have been cared for, while currently there are 1,307. 

In addition, of the total number of positive cases, 5,712 are healthcare professionals and 5,755 are home care professionals. There have also been 17,297 people who have been discharged from hospital after contracting Covid-19.

As regards the nursing homes, a total of 5,229 people have been confirmed to be coronavirus positive, and 7,069 have been suspected.

Spain "following a very strict definition"

Meanwhile, Spanish health minister Salvador Illa defended the methodology used in Spain.

"Spain is following a very strict definition of cases in line with international authorities including the WHO and the ECDC," the minister argued, adding that "anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 and then dies is considered a coronavirus fatality."