Before I share information on Sheboygan County Covid deaths – I need to share a little background. This is not meant to criticize anyone, but is the factual account of what happened during the process of obtaining this information.
I got very tired of hearing on the local radio that “people died of covid” when I knew for a fact persons with terminal cancer who died WITH covid – did not die OF covid. This to me is an important distinction. Aaccuracy in reporting, although it may not be important to the mainstream media, is important to me. When families are separated, businesses shut, and basic Constitutional rights are denied to citizens truth matters.
I began back in October 2020 by submitting an open records request to Public Health, the County Medical Examiner, and the Register of Deeds (who keeps death records). The ME responded promptly with records he had and indicated that he could not provide information on all deaths involving covid (as he did not have access to those records); but he suggested I contact the Register of Deeds and Department of Health.
Weeks went by with no response. I contacted the Register of Deeds and Public Health Department yet again. The Register of Deeds responded informing me that I did not have a need to know and under Wisconsin law and they were denying my request. They informed me I could appeal to the DA. Shortly thereafter, I received a denial from Public Health under the rationale that if I had the persons age and comorbidity I could match the profile with the name of the actual person – I guess by cross referencing obituaries. This, in their view, violates HIPAA law. A specious claim.
Beginning in January 2021 I contacted the Sheboygan County District Attorney and filed an appeal and another open records request. I made several calls, spoke to the District Attorney at least once via telephone, and sent a number of emails as well. To date, I have not received an indication as to whether my appeal will be successful or not.
It was only after I contacted my county board member in March that he interceded and finally got the Department of Health to issue a report regarding covid deaths. My board member was very helpful and I hope “they” decide to remain on the County Board – I do realize it is a thankless job. Also, thank you to the Sheboygan County Medical Examiner who not only was taxed with the project (no doubt because public health was “busy” with covid) but also offered to discuss the report with me at any time!
That being said, a little about my methodology in reviewing the numbers. I reviewed them with a person who is a medical professional, and we erred on the side of public health. For instance, if we found a person who died from or in a car crash but had covid, it was not counted as a covid death. So we removed that person from the list. So people with terminal cancer or injuries causing death, etc. were removed from the list. We then went through and counted the comorbidities of people who had died and categorized them by simple numbering. Interpreting records submitted by multiple doctors, each having their own distinct method of reporting deaths, was not an easy OR completely accurate task. Wherever we could, we tried to be OBJECTIVE, but cannot deny that subjectivity inevitably “leaked” into the analysis at times.
With that being said, after reviewing each case, this is how we categorized the numbers:
- 190 persons died of Covid as reported by the Medical Examiner (today 5/10/2021 public health lists 142?)
- 46 of the 190 died WITH Covid – Fatal injuries or a terminal disease etc. were considered
- 27 persons died from Covid alone – according to death records they had ZERO comorbidities
- 25 people died with 1 comorbidity
- 28 people with 2 comorbidities
- 32 people with 3 comorbidities
- 23 people with 4 comorbidities
- 5 people with 5 comorbidities
- 3 people with 6 comorbidities
- 1 person with 7 comorbidities
Yes, obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes were prevalent in the people who died. But they are also prevalent in the population at a high rate – so wouldn’t we expect to see that? For instance to say that most people who die in czar crashes are obese – then should we draw the conclusion that car obesity leads to car crashes? There were people who maintained a “normal” body weight who died also.
What was most prominent was that people with Dementia, Alzheimer’s and similar conditions seemed to be victims at a higher rate – could this be related to the fact that older people disproportionately died OR could it be that persons with dementia were institutionalized or more resistive to routines and life choices that keep one healthy?
Several observations were made, regarding this reported information.
If Public Health, and the powers that be, want the public at large to “buy in” to the seriousness of a Pandemic disease – and while it is not easy to interpret – they should be more forthcoming with information – not hiding behind the wall of HIPAA to deny information. They should be responsible for reporting deaths. When a person dies of a non-covid cause, for example, a head injury, it hardly seems correct or appropriate to report that death as covid related. So then why would they report that death as covid related?
If we use the counties full numbers, then 0.16% of the population died of covid. Subtracting those dying WITH covid then 0.12% of the population of the county died of covid. Does this level of death warrant the removal of Constitutional rights (which is illegal) or attempts by the county government to impose ordinances which could lead to fines or business closures?
- 11.8% of the population in Sheboygan County contracted covid.
- 1% death rate in Sheboygan County from covid.
Please see the chart here: (feel free to download and zoom in to see it better).Covid-19-Public-Release.xlsx-Covid-19-Public-Release