HARRISBURG – The PA Senate approved a bill that will clarify COVID-19 death reporting rules statewide. Senate Bill 327 clarifies that all deaths attributed to COVID-19 must be reported to the county coroner or medical examiner. It also stipulates that Department of Health staff that manage the online death registration system should not make determinations about which cases should be certified by a coroner. Bill sponsor, Blair County Sen. Judy Ward said the pandemic revealed ambiguities related to the reporting of deaths suspected of a disease constituting a health disaster or pandemic. The bill also gives coroners free electronic access to records compiled by the Health Department for deaths suspected to have resulted from an infectious disease, which will help ensure a more accurate and transparent reporting process for COVID-19 fatalities. The bill now goes to the PA House.

SEN. JUDY WARD