Dougherty Co. coroner explains how COVID-19 deaths are determined

Coroner explains how COVID-19 deaths are determined

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - In recent weeks, people have been questioning how coroners and doctors determine the cause of death of COVID-19 patients.

Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said you don’t really die from the virus, you die from the underlying conditions.

“If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, the diabetes is already in your immune system and it’s already down. It is just like putting another rock or stone on top of what you got, and it carries you under,” said Fowler.

Fowler said when someone who tests positive for COVID-19 dies, they look for whether known symptoms of the virus caused the death. He said if a person dies in the hospital, the doctors do a test.

"They may not know the person had the virus or not but they will go ahead and swab the person and send it down to the lab and I go ahead and document the medical condition or the history the person has and why did the person come into the ER,” explained Fowler.

Fowler said if you are showing symptoms of the virus, to seek a doctor or at least go to a COVID-19 testing site to get tested. He said this will help slow down the spread.

“Last week we had four, the week before we had five, the week before we had eight, the week before that we had five, so the numbers are dropping,” said Fowler.

Due to the recent protests around the country, Fowler said we could see another spike in cases.

“With all the violence and stuff that is going on in different cities now, a lot of people have their mask on and a lot of them don’t, so maybe in a couple of weeks, we will see if it had an effect,” said Fowler.

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