Yakima Co. Coroner explains virus death classification protocol

ABC News file photo of a US hospital during the COVID-19 outbreak.{ }

Earlier this week, the accuracy of Washington's reported 1031 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic were called into question based on how deaths were classified or connected to the virus.

Now the Yakima County Coroner tells our sister station, KIMA, that when someone dies they go through a very specific process to determine the cause of death.

Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice says when someone who tests positive for COVID-19 dies, the biggest factor for a COVID-19 related death is damage to the lungs or pneumonia. Curtice says if he can't find that, COVID-19 is ruled out as the cause of death.

Curtice didn't offer any response to the concern that some deaths classified as related to COVID-19 could have been generalized or lumped into the virus category based on timing.

Offbeat News