COVID-19 deaths in the Lord Fairfax Health District swelled by 15 in the last three days, Health Director Colin Greene noted Monday, to his “great dismay.”
Since local case counts have been “dropping rapidly,” he said, “this is almost certainly a ‘data dump.’
"[It’s] most certainly NOT reflective of the actual death rate in the district, which has also been dropping,” he wrote in a Monday email.
Similarly, he said, the simultaneous bump in statewide death rates is “due to an accounting process, and not a massive number of new COVID deaths.”
A data dump could occur from “a backlog of undecided death cases that were finally worked through, leading to the inclusion of deaths that had occurred in the past," he said.
"I strongly doubt that any nefarious intent was involved," he said.
“I have personally been involved in the decision-making process on one medically challenging case where the final recommendation was not to blame the death on COVID,” he said. “Unfortunately, cause of death is not always clear.”
As of Monday, the Virginia Department of Health, at its COVID-19 dashboard, vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covid-19-in-virginia, had posted a notice saying it’s “now processing 2021 death certificates related to the post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases.”
Therefore, it says, “a larger number of deaths is expected to be added by report date.”