GRAND COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Grand County, Colorado 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.

“these two people had tested positive for COVID but that’s not what killed them,” she said. “The gunshot wound killed them.”

The state of Colorado classifies COVID deaths in two ways: A death due to COVID, where it was the underlying cause, and a death with COVID, where there was a positive test but it wasn’t listed as the cause of death.

“Today, Colorado’s reporting 4,156 COVID deaths, these are actually deaths among cases. Then they show 3,230 deaths due to COVID, and so they’re differentiating that, but I think it can maybe go a little further and I think the policy could be changed,” said Richard Cimino, Grand County Commissioner for District One.

No matter the classification, it goes toward the county’s COVID death count. For rural communities even two deaths can hurt perception.

If they could let the coroners weigh in and take a little bit of time and make that determination early on you won’t have those big swings in numbers that might really alarm our population

Bock said it’s simple in this case – the gunshot wound was the cause of death.

“I realize yes, you’re trying to keep count of the numbers, but you need to do it right, and these people did not die of COVID, they died of gunshot wounds and that’s how it needs to be listed,” she said.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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