Brenda Bock, a Colorado coroner, says she's shocked over "inflated" COVID-19 death tolls in Grand County.
Now she's speaking out to local news outlets to call attention to the way the state health department is reporting some deaths as coronavirus-related.
What are the details?
Bock, according to the Daily Wire, said that Grand County's five COVID-19 deaths include two gunshot wound victims.
"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're 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 outlet reported that Colorado's health department defended itself by stating that it was just following the protocol set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
KCNC-TV reported that CDC guidelines require the state health department to report "people who've died with COVID-19 in their systems because it's crucial for public health surveillance."
The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment states, "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 Sky-Hi News in Grand County, the two gunshot victims were the result of a murder-suicide.
On Tuesday, Bock told county commissioners that she believes just one person in the county has died from COVID-19.
"The coroner maintains that only one person in the county has died from COVID-19, while two more people have died with it [in their systems], for a total of three COVID-related deaths in the county," the outlet reported.
Bock stated that the murder-suicide cases were autopsied, and it was determined that the cause of death was listed as "blunt force injuries due to a gunshot wound."
"Nowhere did the pathologist say COVID was the cause of death," Bock added.
She also told the outlet that she is working with the state to try to get the deaths removed from the official count.
"If we want the public to trust and believe the information being released, we need to make sure it is accurate," she said. "That might be the process, but it's not right. ... I strongly stand against that. ... We do need to stand up and we do need to get these numbers corrected."
The outlet reported:
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment counts COVID-19 deaths in two different ways from two separate sources of data — deaths caused by COVID-19 and deaths among people who died with COVID-19.
Most recent numbers report that 3,086 people in Colorado have died because of COVID compared to 3,969 deaths with COVID.
Deaths listed as caused by COVID-19 come from death certificates. These causes of death are determined directly by health care providers and coroners.
Alternatively, deaths for people who died with but not necessarily because of COVID-19 come from epidemiological data. Thus, anyone who died within 30 days after testing positive for COVID is included in the count regardless of official cause of death.