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Archuleta County reports first ‘death among’ COVID-19 case

CDC must determine whether person died directly because of virus

Archuleta County has reported the first instance of a person who had COVID-19 at the time of death, but it remains unknown whether the person died directly because of the virus.

San Juan Basin Public Health reported the death Wednesday, saying it is the first lab-confirmed person to die after contracting the disease in the county. SJBPH reported the person was an older adult.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this community member,” said SJBPH Executive Director Liane Jollon. “The virus remains a real threat in our communities. It is vital that we remain focused on prevention efforts to protect those who are particularly vulnerable to developing more serious illness, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions.”

But it remains unknown whether the person died as a direct result of COVID-19. That will be up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine, SJBPH said.

Since May, Colorado has provided two death statistics involving the novel coronavirus outbreak: deaths among people who had COVID-19 at the time of death and deaths directly caused by COVID-19.

SJBPH, however, reports only “deaths among” cases, and leaves it up to the CDC to officially determine whether a person’s death is a direct result of COVID-19.

The CDC, however, doesn’t make those distinctions public until a county reaches 10 deaths as a way to protect the health information of people, especially in small communities.

Since the pandemic started, a total of 571 Archuleta County residents have tested positive. The county has about 13,250 residents.


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