Garfield County COVID-19 death count rises with coroner confirmations, state data corrections

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Garfield County has risen by 11 to 82, following confirmation from the county Coroner’s Office of several cases dating back to November and a data correction from state public health officials.

Garfield County Public Health spokesman Mason Hohstadt said Monday that Coroner Rob Glassmire’s office has certified eight new deaths as being due to complications from COVID-19.

Some of those deaths occurred in November, with the most recent being Dec.14, he said.

In addition, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the coroner recently confirmed three deaths among Garfield County residents dating back to December 2020 and earlier this year as being due to COVID-19, Hohstadt said.

All of the more-recent deaths had been suspected of being a result of COVID-19, but Public Health waits for official certification from the coroner before officially reporting them, he said.

They also come amid a year-end surge in COVID-19 cases with the spread of the new omicron variant, which has become the dominant strain of the disease in the United States. Garfield County reported 238 cases in the past seven days, with an incident rate of 385.6 per 100,000 people and a seven-day test positivity rate of 13.2% — up from about 8% just last week.

Hohstadt said that all but one of the recent deaths occurred in the hospital. One death involved an 87-year-old resident of a long-term care facility; the only one among the eight who was vaccinated.

The rest were unvaccinated, he said.

Among the latest deaths, one was male and the rest female — two were over age 80, two were in their 60s, one was 50, one 45, and two were in their mid-30s, Hohstadt said.

One was from Carbondale, and the rest were from the Rifle and Parachute areas, he said.

Of the earlier deaths that are just now being added to Garfield County’s total, one occurred on Dec. 29, 2020, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction involving a male age 52; another was from June 2, involving a 96-year-old resident of the State Veterans Home in Rifle; and the other occurred on Oct. 22, involving a female age 54 who died at her residence. She also was unvaccinated, according to public health tracking data.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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