MDH stamps out allegations COVID-19 falsely listed as cause of death on some death certificates

Minnesota health officials on Wednesday stamped out allegations from some Republican state legislators that car crash victims and people who died of other causes were listed among the state's COVID-19 deaths. 

State Rep. Mary Franson and Sen. Scott Jensen appeared on "FOX & Friends" this week calling for an audit of Minnesota’s COVID-19 death certificates, claiming some listed COVID-19 as the cause of death when the person actually died of something else. 

Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann says MDH follows the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics on defining COVID-19 deaths. 

"When we look at the number of deaths reported via [the NCHS], the number they’re reporting is consistent with what we are reporting," Ehresmann said. "We’re absolutely following the national guidance on how we are doing our death reporting from COVID-19. 

Ehresman said car crash victims are not being counted among the state’s COVID-19 deaths. 

"If someone had tested positive for COVID and then subsequently died, we would review the death certificate and motor vehicle accident would be the cause of death and so it would not be considered a COVID death," Ehresmann said. 

A total of 5,262 people in Minnesota have died from COVID-19 since March, according to the latest MDH data.