George Floyd tested positive for the novel coronavirus in a test taken after his death, according to Hennepin County’s new autopsy report.
The post-mortem nasal swab was found to be “positive for 2019-nCoV RNA,” said the report, using another term for the type of coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker said the type of test performed for the autopsy, called PCR, can show a positive result “for weeks after the onset and resolution of clinical disease.”
As a result, Baker said, “the autopsy result most likely reflects asymptomatic but persistent PCR positivity from previous infection” meaning the virus played no known role in Floyd’s death and he was unlikely to have been contagious.
In addition to his coronavirus test results, officials released more details on the final autopsy.
Floyd’s death was due to cardiopulmonary arrest — or the stopping of his heart — according to the final autopsy results released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
His neck was compressed when the officer’s knee was on it for more than eight minutes, the report says, but does not conclude that it directly caused his death.
The final report from the medical examiner says Floyd had bruises and cuts on his head, face, mouth, shoulders, arms and legs from when the officer forced him to the ground and knelt on his neck. But it finds no evidence that any of those injuries directly would have killed him.
It found no evidence of major neck injuries, skull or brain injuries. There was no damage to internal organs, it said. “The thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone are intact,” it reads. The hyoid bone can be broken during strangulation.
The final autopsy says Floyd had heart disease and a history of high blood pressure. It includes a more complete toxicology report that said Floyd had evidence of several drugs in his blood and urine, including morphine, fentanyl, cannabis and methamphetamine, although not all of the tests were reliable.
Experts hired by Floyd’s family and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner have concluded his death was a homicide, but they differ on what caused it.
An independent autopsy commissioned by the Floyd family disagreed with the county’s conclusion, saying he died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure.” It also said there was no evidence of heart disease,but added that pathologists didn’t have access to all of the samples from his body.