AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Department of State Health Services announced Monday it has changed the way it counts COVID-19 deaths.

The change adds 631 deaths to the state’s fatality numbers.

On Monday, the DSHS reported its total number of COVID-19 deaths at 5,713.

On Sunday, it reported a total of 5,038 COVID-19 deaths.

That’s a difference of 675 deaths.

Forty-four are newly reported deaths. The remaining 631 appear to come from the change in reporting.

New method: “A fatality is counted as due to COVID-19 when the medical certifier, usually a doctor with direct knowledge of the patient, determines COVID-19 directly caused the death. This method does not include deaths of people who had COVID-19 but died of an unrelated cause.”

Old method: “DSHS previously counted COVID-19 fatalities as they were reported publicly by local and regional health departments after they received a notification and verified the death. The length of time that process takes varies by jurisdiction and does not provide timely demographic information on most fatalities.”

Texas DSHS calls the new method an improvement that “allows fatalities to be counted faster with more comprehensive demographic data. Using death certificates also ensures consistent reporting across the state and enables DSHS to display fatalities by date of death…”