Why are Montrose County’s COVID-19 positive case and death totals different from the state’s totals?

Please note that the State (CDPHE) has added cases (from April) to the county’s total number of cases because the state feels they meet the definition of a probable case (see FAQ). These additional cases are being reflected on the state’s data; however, the county has testing resources and was able to test those individuals in April. The individuals in question (and the additional death) were all tested and received negative COVID-19 results. As such, the county will not count them in its reported total of cases. Rather, the county will keep track of these cases that the State defines as probable cases separate of our confirmed cases.

Why is the county’s COVID-19 death total different than the state’s total?

In a recent review of outbreak sites that were identified in April, the state attributed another probable death to the county. This individual was in prolonged contact (at least 15 minutes) with a positive case as well as exhibited some symptoms; however, when tested, this individual was negative and as such will not be included in the county’s death total. The county will keep track of these cases that the State defines as a death but with a negative test result separately.

What’s the difference between confirmed and probable cases (per CDPHE)?

The total number of cases reported by the State includes both confirmed and probable cases.

  • Cases are considered confirmed when there has been a positive molecular amplification test (such as PCR) performed by a lab. These tests commonly involve taking a nasal swab which is then sent to specific laboratories for results.
  • A molecular amplification test detects genetic material from the virus indicating presence of the virus.
  • Cases are considered probable when they meet one of the following criteria:
    • A person exhibited symptoms AND had close contact with someone who tested positive
      • OR
    • A person exhibited symptoms AND tested positive using an antigen or serologic test.
      • An antigen or serologic test is a blood test that looks for antibodies in your blood. This test can detect the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus rather than detecting the virus itself.
      • OR
    • A person has an epidemiologic link* AND has tested positive using an antigen or serologic test
      • *An epidemiologically-link is close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 disease OR travel to or residence in an area with sustained, ongoing community transmission OR a member of a risk cohort as defined by public health authorities during an outbreak.
      • OR
    • A death certificate lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19.

What is the definition of a COVID-19 death (per CDPHE)?

When reporting deaths, we follow a standardized case definition of COVID-19 as set by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. This includes both confirmed and probable case deaths:

  • A death is classified as a confirmed case if the decedent had a positive COVID-19 lab test.
  • A death is classified as a probable case if the decedent meets probable case definition or the death certificate lists “COVID-19” or an equivalent as a cause of death but does not have a positive lab test.

Why is Montrose County not counting probable cases in totals or including the recently added cases?

The county is working with the Coroner to determine those cases who died from COVID versus those who died with COVID or a history of COVID.