Grand County death numbers jump in 2017
February 15, 2018
Updated Feb. 15 : This story has been updated to reflect that the county has a suicide rate of 38 per 100,000 individuals, and not 60 as previously reported.
The number of deaths in Grand County rose somewhat dramatically in 2017, with 85 people passing away last year, according to Grand County Coroner Brenda Bock.
"I honestly have no idea why," admitted Bock. "It was just a really busy year. But I would say there were probably more natural deaths than anything."
Official data on demographics regarding age, gender and type of death won't be released until the coroner's office has a chance to compile all of its information, likely in April. Though Bock's generalization of a high natural death percentage would fit into previous patterns.
From 2014 to 2016, about 73 percent of deaths reported in the county came from natural causes, while about 17 percent were accidents and nine percent were suicides. The suicide rate stands out as particularly troubling, with the county averaging about 38 suicides per 100,000 individuals over the past three years, compared to the national average of about 13 per 100,000, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The increase in deaths in 2017 also stands out because 2016 was a relatively normal year, with only 48 individuals passing away.
"You know you can really never tell," said Bock. "In every coroner's office throughout the state they'll have smaller years and then they'll have bigger years. It's just impossible to predict."
Last year represents the deadliest year in Grand County since at least 1998, and the first time the death total eclipsed 70 in that same timeframe.