Kentucky likely underreported the true toll of the deadliest months of the pandemic, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.
When COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in November, at least one state official stopped auditing death certificates as part of the state’s review process, Beshear said. Instead, they relied on confirmation from local health departments, leaving some death records to fall through the cracks.
Kentucky has reported a lower than average number of COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in spring of 2020. Beshear has repeatedly cited the low number of deaths as evidence of the effectiveness of the state’s response.
But on Monday, Beshear acknowledged the state’s count is incomplete. Kentucky is now performing an audit similar to those done in other states that resulted in as many as 4,000 additional COVID-19 deaths in Ohio and more than 1,500 deaths in Indiana.