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Pennsylvania forced to remove hundreds from COVID-19 death count over glaring irregularities

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'I'm not a conspiracy theory guy. But accuracy is important'

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The state of Pennsylvania was forced to remove hundreds of deaths from its official coronavirus death count after glaring errors in the state's counting methodology were discovered.

Last week, Pennsylvania began adding "probable deaths" to its count, those deaths that were presumed to be caused by COVID-19, but were not confirmed with a test. As a result, Pennsylvania's death count almost doubled over the span of two days, Fox News reported.

Then, in a move that quickly raised eyebrows, the Pennsylvania Department of Health removed 200 deaths from the state count.

"There's a discrepancy in the numbers. I'm not saying there's something going on, "Charles Kiessling Jr., president of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association and coroner in Lycoming County told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I'm not a conspiracy theory guy. But accuracy is important," he said.

Jeffrey Conner, the coroner in Franklin County, told the Inquirer, "Coroners are frustrated. There is a lack of leadership from the Department of Health and a lack of definitive answers."

At concern is when Pennsylvania health officials began adding "probable deaths" to the official count. The first spike occurred last weekend, but a health department spokesperson said "probable deaths" had begun to be included in the count days earlier, suggesting the sudden spike was a lag in the system.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine attributed the discrepancy to needing more information about individual cases.

"At times, there are things we need to review, and potentially revisit the way the data is being analyzed," she told the Inquirer. "And this is one of those times."

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