Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
On February 12, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) officials announced that they had overlooked about 4,000 deaths that occurred over the past several months and would begin reporting them to the public (Source: “Ohio Begins Adding in 4,000 Overlooked COVID Deaths,” New York Times, February 12, 2021).
The first 650 or so of Ohio’s older deaths were reported on February 11 accounting for about 17% of all coronavirus deaths announced nationwide that day. On February 12, ODH reported about 2,500 additional deaths. The backlog in Ohio was expected to inflate the national death average in the coming days.
“You’ll see a jump today, tomorrow, maybe the next day,” Governor Mike DeWine said at a news conference on February 12. “We’re not sure exactly how many days it’s going to take, but you’re going to see a distorted number.”
During a routine employee training event, Ohio health officials discovered that thousands of deaths, some of which dated back to October, had not been properly merged between one reporting system and another, according to an ODH press release. “This was a failure of reconciliation not taking place,” Gov. DeWine said, “so we’re getting that straightened out.”