TEXAS (KETK) – The Texas Department of State Health Services is identifying COVID-19 fatalities based on the cause of death listed on death certificates.

This method allows fatalities to be counted faster with more comprehensive demographic data. Using death certificates also ensures consistent reporting across the state and enables DSHS to display fatalities by date of death, providing the public with more information about when deaths occurred.

Texas DSHS website

Previously, COVID-19 deaths were identified through a medical doctor who had direct knowledge of the patient.

“This does not include deaths of people who had COVID-19 but died of an unrelated cause,” according to the website.

Another way COVID-19 deaths were previously reported was through local and regional health departments which reported to Texas DSHS after they receieved notification and verified the death.

“The length of time that process takes varies by jurisdiction and does not provide timely demographic information on most fatalities,” according to the website.

Texas DSHS says the new method will allow for more comphrehensive data. Due to this change, several East Texas counties have said they will no longer report COVID-19 deaths and leave it up to the state.

The Texas DSHS coronavirus dashboard can be found on their website as well as trends by county.

To follow East Texas COVID-19 caseds, visit the live blog.