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Pa. removes more than 200 deaths from official coronavirus count as questions mount about reporting process, data accuracy
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia's leading newspaper)

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia's leading newspaper), April 23, 2020
Posted: June 8th, 2020

Twice in the last week, Pennsylvanias official COVID-19 death count spiked. Then, on Thursday, the number plummeted. The state Department of Health provided several justifications for the fluctuations, citing technical issues, lengthy investigations, and the addition of probable deaths. Facing mounting questions about the accuracy of the count, officials on Thursday removed more than 200 probable deaths from the tally. Health Secretary Rachel Levine said the change was made in an effort to be transparent. The states coroners – tasked with investigating suspicious deaths – have grown increasingly frustrated by the Health Departments reluctance to seek their help. Theres a discrepancy in the numbers, Charles E. Kiessling Jr., president of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association ... said Thursday. The confusion began Sunday, when Pennsylvania raised its coronavirus death toll to 1,112 – an increase of 276 overnight. On Tuesday, the department reported another spike, from 1,204 to 1,564 deaths.The jump that day, first blamed on a computer glitch, was explained as a reconciliation of multiple reporting systems. Levine also said the significant increase included probable positive COVID-19 deaths. We will now be reporting probable deaths related to COVID-19 in addition to confirmed deaths, she said. Jeffrey Conner, the coroner in Franklin County, said he was blindsided by the departments news on Tuesday that 10 people had died of COVID-19 in the county. As of Wednesday afternoon, he said, he was aware of only one death. On Thursday, the states revised data reported just one death for the county.

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