4,000 Ohioans dead from COVID-19 not counted in state system, ODH says

4,000 Ohioans dead from COVID-19 not counted in state system, ODH says
The Ohio Department of Health says it has discovered 4,000 unreported COVID-19 deaths. (Source: MUSC)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio has been undercounting its COVID-19 deaths by as much as 25 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

ODH announced Wednesday evening it had discovered around 4,000 COVID-19 deaths that were not reported through the state’s reporting system.

To date, 11,856 Ohioans have died due to virus-related causes. That figure does not include the thousands of deaths apparently missed by ODH’s reporting process.

Most of the unreported deaths, though not all of them, happened in November and December, ODH says.

The ODH release is vague about when the unreported deaths were discovered and why the department is just releasing the information now.

“Process issues affecting the reconciliation and reporting of these deaths began in October,” ODH said.

Later, the department added: “The issue is related to the unreconciled COVID-19 deaths was identified by [ODH] during a routine employee training.”

ODH has worked with the Ohio Auditor of State’s office to verify COVID-19 data since September 2020.

The unreported deaths will be added to the state’s death count next week, ODH says. The deaths will be backdated to reflect the appropriate date of death on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

ODH warns daily death counts will appear higher than normal for several days next week as a result.

“After this increase, normal processes will resume, with increased quality assurance related to the death reconciliation process,” ODH said.

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