Ohio will be adding roughly 4,000 deaths to the state toll after the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) announced it had discovered a reconciliation error in the state’s reporting system.
The ODH said on Wednesday that “process issues affecting the reconciliation and reporting” of deaths started in October, but continued past that, with the bulk of the affected deaths happening in November and December. The department said the issue was identified during a “routine employee training.”
Gov. Mike DeWine said that the department will be adding the totals to the state tally.
Ohio has seen 15,136 deaths from the coronavirus as of Friday, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. The state has added a little more than 3,000 of the approximately 4,000 deaths it says will be added to the tally.
The state had just 11,856 deaths as of Wednesday, for a jump of 3,280 deaths between the two days, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
“As these deaths are added to the counts, the daily reported death counts will be high for a two to three-day period,” the health department said. “After this increase, normal processes will resume, with increased quality assurance related to the death reconciliation process.”
DeWine echoed the health department in a press conference on Thursday.
“We had a big surge in deaths, and they all did not get reconciled the way it should have happened. We found out about it recently,” DeWine said. “Now they’re being reconciled over the next few days — so you’ll see a jump today, tomorrow, maybe the next day, we’re not sure exactly how many days it’s going to take — but you’re going to see a distorted number in the number of deaths.”
The department did not say exactly what led to the misreporting of coronavirus death data.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.