Original ArticlesThe Public Health Role of Medical Examiner Offices During COVID-19 and Other Mass Fatality EventsBhullar, Manreet K. MPH∗; Gilson, Thomas P. MD∗; Lee, Junghyae PhD† Author Information From the ∗Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office †Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Manuscript received October 1, 2021; accepted December 13, 2021. The authors report no conflict of interest. Reprints: Manreet K. Bhullar, MPH, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, 11001 Cedar Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106. E-mail: [email protected]. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2022 - Volume 43 - Issue 2 - p 101-104 doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000749 Buy Metrics Abstract The public health role of a medical examiner office (MEO) in a pandemic is largely undefined; however, death data may be useful in strategic planning. Deaths reportable to MEO are defined in statute, with discretion as to the assumption of jurisdiction. We analyzed the daily reported death numbers (DRDNs) in our jurisdiction from March 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, and compared them with hospital admission and COVID-19 fatality data over the same period. The DRDN from an MEO is easily obtained and may be useful as a supplemental and surrogate metric in certain pandemic mass casualty decisions. Hospital admission data were analyzed in real time and with a 2-week time-shift, as deaths lag hospital admissions as a disease surveillance metric. Moderate correlation was observed between DRDN and hospital admissions (r = 0.570), and this improved to strong correlation (0.645) when the 2-week time-shift was incorporated into the analysis. Both evaluations were statistically significant (P < 0.0001). The DRDN also moderately correlated (r = 0.412) with the number of COVID-19 deaths. Because death certification and hospital diagnosis may be delayed, real-time trend recognition in a pandemic may benefit from use of DRDN from MEO. Copyright © 2022 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.