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More Washington coronavirus deaths ruled non-COVID-19 related

Sixty-five people who tested positive for coronavirus in Washington did not die of COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health.

SEATTLE — The Washington State Department of Health released an updated COVID-19 death data report Tuesday, which quantifies whether people who were infected with COVID-19 died of the virus or another cause.

As of Tuesday, there were 1,458 coronavirus deaths statewide, according to DOH. However, that includes 65 deaths where COVID-19 wasn’t the cause. In those deaths, nine were ruled a homicide, suicide or accident, and 56 were other natural deaths.

King County has the highest number of non-COVID deaths with 23 coronavirus patients who died of something else. Yakima County has the second most non-COVID deaths with 16.

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DOH began reclassifying COVID-19 deaths in June to paint a better picture of the impacts of coronavirus. 

Those death classifications include confirmed deaths where COVID-19 or a COVID-19-like condition contributed, suspected deaths where COVID-19 isn’t listed on the death certificate but the patient tested positive, pending or missing cause of death while the state awaits more information, and non-COVID deaths where the patient tested positive but died of something else.

If a death is classified as non-COVID, health officials remove it from the DOH dashboard, which helps explain why the death toll has dropped several times.