COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Muscogee County Health Department reported six deaths Wednesday which is the highest one-day total of deaths in the area to date.
94 people have died from the coronavirus so far in Muscogee County, according to Pamela Kirkland, with the health department. Kirkland said the six recent deaths reported Wednesday don’t necessarily mean all those people died the same day.
”It’s just that they are reported at different times depending on the facility that they were in,” Kirkland said.
39 out of the 94 reported deaths are from long-term care facilities, according to the Department of Public Health’s statewide tracker.
But as for the other 55 deaths to date, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan agrees with Kirkland. He said depending on how the person died, it could take months before the death certificate is signed off on and reported to the state.
“The way the process is with the death certificate, if we are signing off on it, the process is pretty quick,” Bryan said. “If someone has to go up for an autopsy, we are looking at probably two or three months before we can get the results back”.
Bryan estimates in the last two weeks, he has signed off on at least 35 COVID-19 related deaths. He said the coronavirus is not recognized as a “primary” cause of death.
“We can put cardiac arrest, we can underline it with diabetes and high blood pressure. It should fall under those categories if they have tested positive and have died from it,” Bryan said.
The bottom line is, health officials said it’s common for the numbers to fluctuate. Just because there may be a higher than normal report on a given day, doesn’t mean all those deaths occurred in that time frame.
Muscogee County has the highest death count in the West Central District. Not too far behind is Sumter County with 56 deaths as of Friday, and also Randolph County has 26 deaths.