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517 More COVID Deaths Added To Maryland's Total After They Were Previously Miscoded

BALTIMORE (WJZ) --  The Maryland Department of Health's Vital Statistics Administration revised the state's COVID-19 data Thursday to include 517 more coronavirus-related deaths over the past year. Now more than 9,300 Marylanders have died as a result of the virus.

Officials said those deaths "were not properly classified" by medical certifiers over the past year.  The state's death toll from the virus is now at 9,368.

Officials said that the discovery was made via "...maintenance exercises, that some medical certifiers had miscoded the cause or probable cause of death. VSA is in the process of re-issuing guidance for coding protocols to medical certifiers."

In Baltimore city where there were 1,004 reported deaths as of Thursday, the Health Commissioner is waiting to see how this new information will affect the City's death toll.

"We don't know the final number yet but we do anticipate that there likely will be some increases for Baltimore city," said Dr. Letitia Dzirasa, the City's Health Commissioner.

As Maryland inches closer to 70 percent of the adult population getting at least one vaccine shot, Baltimore leaders say they are going to remain cautious. The City's indoor mask mandate will remain in place until they hit a goal of 65 percent of adults getting at least one shot.

"We have a plan. We are at 54. 65 percent is all we have to get to," said Mayor Brandon Scott. "If folks want to see it happen and go away faster, if folks want us to run faster, then go get vaccinated."

This Memorial Day weekend may bring back some sense of normalcy for many but leaders of a local hospitality union said about 70 percent of their members are out of work because the tourism industry isn't fully back yet.

Vaccines were administered and volunteers gave out groceries at M&T Bank Stadium for union members who still have not been called back to work.

"Unlike other industries, hospitality workers have not been able to work from home," said Roxie Herbekian with Unite Here Local 7. "They've had to depend on unemployment, federal stimulus and non-eviction laws to survive."

Union officials said a big part of Baltimore's tourism industry centers around conventions and participants who use hotels when they visit. Herbekian is hopeful conventions will start to return by next spring.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.


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