A Colorado coroner is calling out the state health department and expressing shock over the “inflated” COVID-19 death-tolls in one county.
The Grand County coroner is speaking out in objection to how some deaths are being classified as coronavirus-related even though that appears to not be the case. Brenda Bock cited recent examples including two people whose deaths were reported as COVID-19-related but were actually victims of gunshot wounds, KCNC-TV reported.
The two gunshot victims, who were part of Grand County’s five COVID-19 deaths, tested positive for the virus within the past 30 days and were therefore classified as “deaths among cases,” according to Bock.
“These two people had tested positive for COVID, but that’s not what killed them. A gunshot wound is what killed them,” she told KCNC, noting that she had not even finished her investigation when the state listed the gunshot victims as deaths due to the virus.
“It’s absurd that they would even put that on there,” she said.
“Would you want to go to a county that has really high death numbers? Would you want to go visit that county because they are contagious?” she asked. “You know I might get it, and I could die if all of a sudden one county has a high death count. We don’t have it, and we don’t need those numbers inflated.”
Colorado’s health department defended itself, emphasizing that they are just following protocol established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which requires them to report anyone who has died with COVID-19 in their system, as a public health measure.
According to KCNC-TV:
Colorado provides death data related to COVID-19 in two ways:
- Deaths due to COVID-19:
- This is based on CDC coding of death certificates where COVID-19 is listed as the cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.
- Deaths among COVID-19 cases:
- This reflects people who died with COVID-19, but COVID-19 may not have been the cause of death listed on the death certificate.
“This information is required by the CDC and is crucial for public health surveillance, as it provides more information about disease transmission and can help identify risk factors among all deaths across populations,” according to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.
Bock spoke to county commissioners earlier this week and contended that only one person in the county has died from COVID-19, while another two have died with the virus, according to Sky-Hi News.
“Most recent numbers report that 3,086 people in Colorado have died because of COVID compared to 3,969 deaths with COVID,” the outlet reported.
The coroner called the state’s reporting “false and misleading.”
“The two cases were autopsied, and the cause of death was listed as ‘blunt-force injuries due to a gunshot wound,’” she had said of the deaths which were classified by police as a murder-suicide. “Nowhere did the pathologist say COVID was the cause of death.”
“If we want the public to trust and believe the information being released, we need to make sure it is accurate,” Bock added, noting that including those two cases, gives Grand County a 40 percent increase in COVID deaths.
“That might be the process, but it’s not right,” she said of the state’s reporting protocol.
“I strongly stand against that,” she told county commissioners this week. “We do need to stand up and we do need to get these numbers corrected.”
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