Space-time block codes (STBC) using coordinate interleaved orthogonal designs (CIOD) proposed recently by Khan and Rajan allow single-complex symbol decoding and offer higher data rates than orthogonal STBC. In this paper, we present the channel decoupling property of CIOD codes. A new general maximum likelihood method is derived, enabling the calculation of the symbol pair-wise error probability and union bound (UB) on symbol error rate (SER). Extensive simulation results show that the UB is within 0.1 dB from the simulated SER when SER < 10-2. The UB thus can be used to accurately predict and optimize the performance of CIOD codes. Furthermore, a new signal design combining signal rotation and power allocation is presented for constellations with uneven powers of real and imaginary parts such as rectangular quadrature amplitude modulation.