The Ohio Department of Health announced Wednesday night that it may have missed as many as 4,000 coronavirus-related deaths in recent data counts.
In a Feb. 10 news release, the health department says issues affecting deaths that were recorded through the state’s reporting issues began in October. The deaths will be added to Ohio’s death count over the next few weeks and will reflect the appropriate dates of death — not the new reporting dates — at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
“As these deaths are added to the counts, the daily reported death counts will be high for a two to three-day period,” the ODH statement says. “After this increase, normal processes will resume, with increased quality assurance related to the death reconciliation process.”
As of Feb. 10, Ohio's COVID-19 dashboard shows 11,856 deaths. By adding the new unreported deaths, Ohio's coronavirus death count would be at nearly 16,000.
The health department says it discovered the errors during routine employee training and will continue to work with the Auditor of State’s office, which has been auditing COVID-19 data since September.
The department does not specify in the statement what caused the discrepancy in reporting or what steps it will take to prevent another occurrence.
Reporters, questioning the state's count based on anecdotal and other evidence, had sought clarification from the state months ago.
The new, accurate numbers would mean 1 out of every 730 Ohio residents has died of Covid since the onset of the pandemic.
But it was clear there was a discrepancy from looking at medical examiner data & sources who said doctors who are not used to using the death certificate system were struggling with using it and being timely. Funeral directors also complained of issues/delays.— Rachel Dissell (@RachelDissell) February 11, 2021