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Pueblo County Coroner discusses how COVID-19 deaths are ruled

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Pueblo County Coroner explains how COVID-19 deaths are ruled in his county. So far out of the 14 deaths, none have been cause by the novel coronavirus on its own.

Coroner Brian Cotter says state guidelines rule COVID-19 can't be the sole cause of death.

"The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment does not allow COVID-19 to be the top-line number one cause of death," Cotter said.

When determining the cause of death, Cotter says there are three lines he fills out, and the top-line which is the official cause of death can never be COVID-19, it can only be on the second or third line which is a consequence that leads to cause of death.

Cotter says, "The most common cause of death would be: One pneumonia and two, exacerbation by COVID-19." As for the 14 deaths in Pueblo County, Cotter says each one wasn't caused by COVID-19 alone, but the virus amplifies pre-existing conditions which lead to each death.

While he wouldn't comment on how other counties report COVID-19 deaths, Cotter says he will continue to report the deaths as he has been told by the state.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Colorado decreased more than 300 after it was learned the State Health Department was not separating the numbers into two groups. Those who died from Coronavirus and those who died with Coronavirus.

Coronavirus / Pueblo

Chase Golightly

Chase is a reporter and an anchor for our weekend evening newscasts. Learn more about Chase here.