Colorado COVID-19 death count down almost 25%, as state differentiates 'dying with,' 'dying from'

State authorities faced criticism for classifying as COVID-19 death a man with astronomical .55 blood-alcohol content.

Published: May 16, 2020 2:31pm

Updated: May 16, 2020 4:13pm

Colorado health officials this week implemented a more precise coronavirus data metric to measure deaths from the virus in that state, one that sent confirmed COVID-19 fatalities tumbling by a full 25%. 

Public health officials in the state elected to start distinguishing between individuals who died directly from the disease and those who simply died with the virus in their systems. Authorities in that state had faced criticism this week for classifying as a COVID-19 death a man whose blood-alcohol content registered an astronomical .55. 

With the new system in place, confirmed coronavirus deaths in Colorado plummeted from 1150 to 878, a drop of almost 25%. 

Following the change, the Colorado governor's office said it "fully supports" the effort to more accurately tabulate the number of COVID-19 deaths in the state, though the governor said the new number will likely rise as backlogged fatalities from the past week get entered into the state system. 

The state's coronavirus dashboard lists 21,232 confirmed cases of the virus there as of Saturday afternoon, with over 3,800 hospitalizations. Over 90% of deaths in the state were of individuals 60 or older. Deaths appear to have peaked there on April 25. 

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