Denver sheriff, Mayor’s Office collaborated on changing reporting of jail coronavirus cases, records show

Colorado Politics: The push for a controversial change in the reporting of Denver jail coronavirus cases came from the Denver Mayor’s Office in consultation with sheriff’s officials despite earlier denials of involvement, newly released records show.

In late May, Denver’s largest jail changed how it was counting coronavirus cases and reporting them to the state for outbreak tracking. The change led to the publicly reported number being cut in half on May 27. Instead of publicly reporting all of the positive and probable COVID-19 cases in the jail, only cases where the virus’ transmission is believed to have happened in the jail have since been shared with the public.

Records previously provided to Colorado Politics’ partner The Gazette under the Colorado Open Records Act showed dozens of top officials from the state and county health departments, the Denver Sheriff Department and Denver Health, a public hospital that contracts to provide medical services in the jail, helped brainstorm a way to reclassify some of the positive and suspected COVID-19 cases so they would no longer be included in the total. Additional emails more recently turned over provide new details on the change, showing that the call to “rectify” the numbers came from Denver Mayor’s Office, in coordination with the Denver sheriff.

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