HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Questions linger about whether a newborn baby died from COVID-19 in Connecticut.
Governor Ned Lamont made the declaration during a press conference last week, but a cause of death hasn’t been determined at this time.
According to Lamont’s administration, this is all because the Department of Public Health and Medical Examiner keep different sets of data and this is because their offices are focused on very different objectives.
“We have our role, we have our job, the medical examiner has his job, and they’re very separate ad we count different things,” said Matthew Cartter, State Epidemiologist.
State Epidemiologist Matthew Cartter explained on Friday why health officials links deaths to COVID-19 before an autopsy is done.
The Department of Public Health tally of COVID-19 deaths includes all people who test positive for the virus just before or after their death. That’s different from saying COVID-19 caused someone’s death.
“We have a tragic milestone in CT, probably the youngest person to ever die of COVID has died here in Connecticut. That baby was less than 7 weeks old,” Lamont said during a news conference.
Questions about the figures began after Lamont announced the baby died from the virus. The baby was taken to St. Francis Hospital and tested after its death.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is still performing an autopsy.
The office said in a statement, “At the current time, we have not issued a final cause of death. There are numerous tests that we must do on infant deaths before issuing a final cause of death.”
“You go to our website, you look at our weekly flu report, we list influenza-related deaths. This is how public health does this across the country,” Cartter said.
Cartter says it is common practice to include all deaths involving people with a virus instead of waiting for an autopsy. He also says that’s because officials need to respond, regardless of the cause of death.
“Every COVID-positive cause that we hear about requires a public health action,” Cartter said.
The medical examiner also says it could take weeks before an autopsy determines the cause of death for that newborn.