Senator Judy Ward Plan Requiring Deaths from Contagious Diseases to be Reported to Coroners Passes Senate Committee

(HARRISBURG) – A bill that clarifies when deaths from a contagious disease must be reported to county coroners – including COVID-19 deaths – sponsored by Senator Judy Ward (R-30) was approved today by the state Senate Local Government Committee.

“We must have accurate reporting of the deaths and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities,” Senator Ward said. “Coroners are tasked to work closely with the community – specifically health care professionals and law enforcement – to provide answers to grieving families. This bill will allow them to fully perform the duties they were elected to do.”

Recently, Senator Ward and House Majority Leader Rep. Kerry Benninghoff were flanked by coroners from throughout Pennsylvania to underscore discrepancies in numbers of COVID deaths reported by the Department of Health and deaths they as coroners were aware of in their county.

Senate Bill 327 makes it clear that certain circumstances of death shall be reported to the coroner, including any disease constituting a health disaster emergency or pandemic. A similar bill passed both the Senate and the House with large bipartisan majorities only to be met by Governor Wolf’s veto pen.

CONTACT:             Cheryl Schriner (Ward)