CPRA for case data

Matt Kiefer filed this request with the Department Of The Medical Examiner of San Diego County, CA.
Status
Completed
Tags

Communications

From: Matt Kiefer

To Whom It May Concern:

Please consider this a Public Records Act request for case records dating back to Nov. 1, 2019. Please respond with the following information for each case:
- case number
- date of death
- race
- ethnicity
- age
- gender
- location (e.g. home zip code of decedent)
- cause(s) of death (indicating if COVID related)
- any other non-exempt information contained in case records

This information is produced annually on the Medical Examiner's data portal. Please provide a similar spreadsheet report for the dates requested including the information listed above.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically by e-mail attachment.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.

--
Matt Kiefer
John S. Knight Journalism Fellow
Stanford University
312-804-5648

From: Matt Kiefer

Hi, is there any update? The CPRA gives agencies 10 days to respond, but I haven't seen any return correspondence on this request.

--
Matt Kiefer
John S. Knight Journalism Fellow
Stanford University
312-804-5648

From: Department Of The Medical Examiner

Good afternoon Mr. Kiefer,

The San Diego County Medical Examiner has received your records request via fax. Please consider that with the current COVID restrictions on office environments and shift to telework, faxing to an administrative office may result in delays.

Attached are the closed, unsealed cases in data format for the time period you requested.

Thank you,
Alex

Alexandra Saint
Group Communications Officer
Public Safety Group
County of San Diego
858-740-0339

From: Matt Kiefer

Thank you, Alex.

Can you explain why the San Diego County Medical Examiner has only one record of a death attributed to COVID-19?

It's my understanding that in California, medical examiners are charged with investigating "deaths known or suspected as due to contagious disease and constituting a public hazard."

--
Matt Kiefer
John S. Knight Journalism Fellow
Stanford University
312-804-5648

From: Department Of The Medical Examiner

Hi Matt,

The Medical Examiner is charged with determining an individual's cause and manner of death. The overwhelming majority of COVID-19 related deaths in the region have occurred in individuals with comorbidities who are under the care of a physician. The physician is able to sign the death certificate, therefore a ME investigation is not needed because their cause and manner of death is known.

Additionally, we only release data on closed cases.

Alexandra Saint
Group Communications Officer
Public Safety Group
858-740-0339

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