Colorado has drastically changed how it counts coronavirus deaths, resulting in a statewide reduction of nearly 25 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Health website.
“We have been reporting at the state, deaths among people who had COVID-19 at the time of death and the cause of that death may or may not have been COVID-19,” Eric France, chief medical officer with the Colorado Department of Public Department, told Fox31 in Denver.
The department's website now reads that only 878 deaths are actually "due to" COVID-19. It also lists 1,150 people in Colorado died with the virus, meaning they may have passed from another cause.
For example, a 35-year-old man from Montezuma County, Colorado, died of alcohol poisoning but was counted against the state's coronavirus death toll.
“The state is reporting that death as a COVID death, but our health department wanted to let people know that even though the person did have the virus, they did not die from it,” the Montezuma County Health Department said, according to Fox News.
As of Saturday afternoon, May 16, the national coronavirus death count was at 87,697, which doesn't include the death toll deduction in Colorado.
On Friday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, (D) announced at a news conference that the state had hit a "reflection point" referencing the death total at the time, which was listed at more than 1,000.
"It's important to remember that every number has a name," Polis wrote in a news release. "It's easy to say over 1,000 people. Each one of those is a person with friends, loved ones and family. If you’re fortunate enough not to have known someone who was lost, take a moment and remember why we all need to do our part."
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