Here’s why the state and county show a different number of COVID-related deaths in Erath County.


By SARA VANDEN BERGE

I woke up this morning to an email from a reader showing that the Texas Department of State Health Services is now reporting 14 COVID-related deaths in Erath County as opposed to five reported by local officials.

So I called Erath County’s emergency management coordinator Susan Driskill to ask her about the discrepancy and her explanation was simple and easy to understand.

Here’s what she said: Say a person living in a nursing home outside of Erath County passes away after contracting COVID-19. If that person’s permanent residence is listed as Erath County, then the state adds that patient to the list of deaths in Erath County.

But county officials don’t have access to that same information so that death is not included in their numbers.

“We don’t get notified about those deaths; that’s why our numbers are not the same,” Driskill said. “The numbers that we put out are from information we gather locally.”


On Friday, however, Driskill said the county will begin using the state's number of deaths as its official number to avoid anymore conflicting information.


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Erath County’s report issued Thursday shows 14 new cases; eight in Stephenville and six in the county, bringing the total to 1,063 with 152 still considered active.

There have been 39 local hospitalizations.