Certifying COVID-19 Deaths
All suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patient deaths must be reported to the Office of the Medical Examiner. Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 should be reported on the death certificate for all descendants where the disease caused or is assumed to have caused or contributed to death. Other terminology, e.g., SARS-CoV-2, can be used as long as it is clear that it indicates the 2019 coronavirus strain, but we would prefer use of WHO’s standard terminology, e.g., COVID-19. Specification of the causal pathway leading to death in Part 1 of the certificate is also important. For example, in cases of COVID-19 causing pneumonia and fatal respiratory distress, the death should be certified as Complications of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Respiratory Infection. Contributing conditions such as pneumonia and respiratory distress can be listed in Part 2 of the death certificate.