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State: COVID-19 leading cause of death in Idaho in November

Staff Writer | December 11, 2020 1:07 AM

The Department of Health and Welfare said Thursday that COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in Idaho for November, based on preliminary data collected from death certificates.

It was the third-leading cause of death from January 2020 through November 2020.

“These data are concerning and clearly demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 in the worst possible way,” said Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch.

According to statistics provided by IDHW, from January to November the leading cause of death in Idaho was heart disease, at 2,851. Next came cancer, 2,707; COVID-19, 863; accidents, 794; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 786; cerebrovascular diseases (stroke, aneurysms, blocked arteries), 672; Alzheimer’s disease, 657; diabetes, 434 and suicide, 357.

But for November only, Idaho deaths related to COVID-19, according to the preliminary report, totaled 247, followed by heart disease, 233, and cancer, 224.

“My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone they love to COVID-19," Shaw-Tulloch said. "This exemplifies why it’s so important to follow the recommended COVID-19 precautions to protect ourselves and others and wear a mask, be 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you, wash your hands, and stay home as much as possible, especially when you are sick.”

Health officials say the coronavirus hits those harder who are older and have compromised health conditions.

The report seems to confirm that. Heart disease, dementia, kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes, kidney, respiratory diseases and obesity were among leading conditions contributing to COVID-19 deaths as listed on the death certificate per the report, from January through November.

That information could help health officials emphasize the importance of exercise and diet.

“The data collected from death certificates provide important insight as to how causes of death relate to each other and, in this case, help us to understand the health impact of COVID-19 to Idaho citizens,” said Pam Harder, data analyst in the Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics in the Division of Public Health.

The report says: “COVID-19 deaths are deaths in which COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death. The underlying cause of death is defined as the disease or injury that initiated the events resulting in death.”