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No new cases of COVID-19 at Castle Peak; state changes how it reports deaths

May 16, 2020, 9:28 am

The state of Colorado on Friday issued a press release on how it will report COVID-19 deaths moving forward, while Eagle County’s death toll from the disease remains at eight – the latest a resident of Castle Peak senior center in Eagle last week.

On Thursday, Castle peak re-tested all residents and staff members and on Friday reported no new cases.

“Castle Peak re-tested all of our residents and employees yesterday, May 14,”Castle Peak administrator Shelly Cornish reported in an email update on Friday. “I am happy to report that we have no new cases of COVID-19! We will re-test again next Thursday, May 21.”

In addition to the deceased resident, three other residents of Castle Peak have tested positive and are being isolated, and four caregivers. All eight were reportedly asymptomatic.

So far, 3,132 people have been tested in the Eagle River Valley portion of Eagle County, with 568 confirmed cases and eight deaths – two of those in the Roaring Fork Valley portion of Eagle County.

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday issued this statement on COVID-19 deaths in the state:

“It is important to remember that those we have lost are more than just numbers on a bulletin, or a statistic, or an obituary in the local newspaper. Every person we have lost to this horrible pandemic has a story and a community of loved ones in mourning. It’s on all of us to come together to support each other during these times of such agonizing grief,” Polis stated. “It remains critical that we all do our part: wear a mask when leaving the house, wash our hands frequently, and continue staying home as much as possible. If we all do our part, we can help protect ourselves, our neighbors, those who are vulnerable and the front lines workers who are trying to keep us safe.”

And here’s the state press release on how it will report COVID-19 deaths moving forward:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) today (Friday, May 15) explained the way it has been counting deaths among people with COVID-19 and announced an addition to data reporting going forward.

CDPHE explained that to date, its data dashboard included deaths among all people who had COVID-19 at the time of death. This included deaths caused by COVID-19 and deaths among people who had COVID-19 at the time of death, but the cause or causes may not have been attributed to COVID-19 on the death certificate. This is the standard way states report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Going forward, the state will present both numbers: Deaths among COVID-19 cases and deaths due to COVID-19. Data is available on the dashboard available at covid19.colorado.gov/data/case-data. As of May 15, the state reported 1,150 deaths among people who have COVID-19. The number of deaths confirmed to have been caused by COVID-19 is 878 as of May 9, as reported by the CDC. It is important to note that the data reported on the dashboard up to this point, and to CDC, is shared for disease surveillance and tracking purposes. It is separate from the state official death records, which are maintained through death certificates.

The state also emphasized that it does not unilaterally change information on death certificates and does not question or try to change a physician’s diagnosis or causes-of-death determination.

“Every single death is tragic, regardless of the circumstances,” said Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer at CDPHE. “We know this virus can be deadly and can complicate other serious medical conditions and hasten death. As public health practitioners, we need to look at data that helps us understand disease transmission and protect people.”

“We understand it is confusing that there are different systems and ways of counting deaths. It’s important to understand the difference between the official cause of death and the list of deaths among COVID-19 cases,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist.

At 7 p.m., the State Capitol, along with cities, counties and other organizations, will be turning their building lights red to honor those who have fallen victim to this deadly virus. The state is encouraging buildings and businesses across the state to turn their lights red at 7 p.m. and for police and fire departments to turn their lights on at 7 p.m. for one minute. Coloradans can participate by wearing a mask or face covering and observe a moment of silence at 7 p.m. Coloradans are also encouraged to post on social media to raise awareness about the remembrance event.

The slides from today’s media availability are available here.

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

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