A change in criteria used to determine some coronavirus deaths in Alabama has lowered that count by more than 100.
Data from the Alabama Department of Public Health now shows 13 of the state’s 2,914 COVID-19 deaths were among people with no underlying health conditions. The age range for those deaths is 53-88 with a median age of 73.
Two days ago, ADPH listed 130 COVID-19 deaths among those with no underlying conditions with an age range of 33-103 and median age of 76.
The change comes after ADPH added a number of questions to its death investigation process, including whether the person was considered obese, defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. The inclusion led to a reclassification of deaths among people who were previously considered to have no underlying conditions.
According to ADPH, Alabama has the 6th highest adult obesity rate in the nation with 36.2% of the population listed as having a BMI of 30 or higher.
Obesity has “shown to be associated with poorer health outcomes among COVID-19 cases,” ADPH said in a statement.
Alabama has reported 2,914 COVID deaths among those with underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, diabetes and now, obesity. Forty-eight of the state’s COVID deaths among those with underlying conditions are now listed under the obesity category with the remainder moved to other categories.
The largest number of the state’s COVID deaths– 1,849 or 64% – were those with cardiovascular disease. Fifty-seven percent were listed as having multiple underlying medical conditions.