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ODH Director Discusses New Death Database Procedures

The Ohio Department of Health is making major changes to the system it uses for recording COVID-19 deaths. This comes weeks after it was discovered that more than 4000 deaths were not recorded. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles explains. 

ODH Director Stephanie McCloud says the agency manually counted COVID deaths so they could get those numbers out to the public faster, but that process was fraught with human error. Starting today, she says the agency will rely on death certificates after they have been reviewed and coded by the CDC. 


It’s very reliable. It will be automated. It will have quality assurance checks on that automated process but it will be somewhat delayed.”  


As a result, she says the death total will temporarily go down while the agency waits for death certificates to backfill the numbers. She says she doesn’t know how much the system changes will cost and cautions not all of them can be made now in the midst of the pandemic. 


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