“The state epidemiologist did review the information and that individual who was … on our fatality list was actually removed from that list,” Kent Donahue, public information officer for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, told The Epoch Times on Monday.
Asked what triggered the review, Donahue said the state is “going through and cleaning the data,” a process Orange County typically does as well.
“It got through the proper channels and was reviewed and the individual was pulled, was removed from our fatality list for COVID-19,” he said.
Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino told a local broadcaster last week that officials were arguing with the state because the man “didn’t die from COVID-19” but “died in the crash.”
“But you could actually argue that it could have been the COVID-19 that caused him to crash. I don’t know the conclusion of that one,” Pino said.
Sometimes cases take a while to work through the system because a person dies in a different county from their place of residence, according to the agency.
“There’s a process to review not only the address, but the fatality in this case. And that’s what happened. So this individual, it was a motorcycle accident. It was a 23-year-old that was taken off our fatality list for COVID-19,” Donahue told The Epoch Times.
The death happened in June, he added.
The Florida Department of Health’s main office said it was formulating a response.
A doctor with the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office, which also serves Osceola County, told The Epoch Times that the office did not certify the death in question as being caused by COVID-19.
“The individual was in a motorcycle accident and died from the injuries from the motorcycle accident and he happened to have tested positive for COVID-19,” the doctor said.
“But just because he had it, doesn’t mean it contributed to his death, so we did not contribute COVID-19 to his death.”
A spokesperson for the department said in a statement at the time: “In recent days, the Florida Department of Health noticed that some smaller, private labs weren’t reporting negative test result data to the state. The Department immediately began working with those labs to ensure that all results were being reported in order to provide comprehensive and transparent data.”
“As the state continues to receive results from various labs, the Department will continue educating these labs on proper protocol for reporting COVID-19 test results,” the spokesperson added.