UPDATE: CBS4 Mountain Newsroom reporter Jamie Leary interviewed Grand County Coroner Brenda Bock following the publication of this story. To read that full story, click here.
GRAND COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Grand County coroner is calling attention to the way the state health department is classifying some deaths. The coroner, Brenda Bock, says two of their five deaths related to COVID-19 were people who died of gunshot wounds.
Bock says because they tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 30 days, they were classified as “deaths among cases.”
“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. 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.”
The state health department says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires them to report people who’ve died with COVID-19 in their systems because it’s crucial for public health surveillance.
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.
CDPHE explains that they are required to report deaths among COVID-19 cases to the CDC.
“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,” stated CDPHE on its Frequently Asked Questions page.