The websites for the state of Maryland and for Kent and Queen Anne’s counties show discrepancies in the number of deaths in those two counties.
The state and the Kent County Health Department report 13 deaths in the county; yet the state also reports that 15 residents of a Chestertown nursing home have died as a result of COVID-19.
In neighboring Queen Anne’s, the county reports zero COVID-19 deaths, but the state reports eight.
Health officials in both counties have said the discrepancies are based on the address listed on the death certificates for those patients.
“The dilemma that we have is the state webpage uses the information that is listed on the death certificate,” William Webb, the Kent County health officer, said. “The county of residence for the death certificate is determined between the funeral director and the next of kin. Typically, the Bureau of Vital Statistics does not get involved.”
“What happens is, for the sake of expedience and also for estate processing purposes, they will decide to put the residence for any number of reasons on the death certificate,” Webb said.
Queen Anne’s County officials have said the eight deaths listed for that county were Queen Anne’s County residents living in facilities elsewhere when they were infected and later died. Of those eight cases, five were living in Kent County at the time of diagnosis.
The Spy is listing the number of deaths in Kent County as 18. We get that number by adding the 13 deaths reported on the county and state websites with the five Queen Anne’s County residents who died after contracting COVID-19 in a Kent County congregate living facility.
We will continue to use that method in the future until the discrepancies are corrected.