The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) on Thursday announced that it will now only declare deaths of those who tested positive for Covid-19 and died primarily because of the virus as “deaths due to Covid-19”, and not deaths occurring as a result of pre-existing comorbid conditions.
The civic body, which has so far declared 57 Covid-19 deaths, has announced that the committee has completed audits of all deaths that occurred in the city since the outbreak of the pandemic. VMC has so far declared 11 of the 57 deaths as due to Covid-19, 30 due to multiple comorbid conditions, 11 due to hypertension and four due to diabetes.
In a note in the daily medical bulletin on Thursday, the VMC said, “The death audit committee has completed all death audits until July 1, 2020. The committee has recommended that the 57 deaths recorded during this period due to Covid-19 should be counted as Covid-19 deaths. According to ICMR guidelines… deaths that occur due to existing co-morbid conditions will not be counted as Covid-19 deaths. Hereon, only those deaths where the cause has been Covid-19 will be declared…”
The decision of the civic body comes after its earlier decision on May 7 of not declaring the official daily death toll of Covid-19 patients, until the audit was completed. According to the ICMR guidelines, authorities must list Covid-19 as an “underlying cause of death” leading to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), cardiac injury, pneumonia and other primary causes of death where a person who tested positive has died due to no other complications.
Officer on Special Duty to Vadodara, Vinod Rao said, “The deaths will be analysed and only those deaths that occur primarily due to Covid-19 will be counted as Covid-19 deaths. The purely Covid-19 deaths in Vadodara are under 15 out of 57. The death of a Covid-positive patient with comorbidity was so far been declared as Covid-19 death in the official tally.”
Rao explained, “If someone has multiple comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, asthma and other ailments, and has been taking treatment for another condition, and then tests positive of Covid-19 and dies, we will not count it as a Covid-19 death.”
Rao added that the VMC is monitoring daily deaths in the city by taking daily reports from all crematoriums and burial grounds “to see if there is any trend of undetected Covid deaths”. He said, “We have seen an actual decline in total number of deaths in Vadodara in 2020, compared to March, April, May and June months of 2018 and 2019. The number of deaths in Red Zone and Orange Zone has also come down in June as compared to May this year.”
ICMR lays down that the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) issued by the medical practitioner who treated the patient during Covid-19 should have two parts.
ICMR also states that all the comorbid conditions or injuries consequent to the underlying cause related to death are termed as antecedent and immediate cause.
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