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Ohio Department of Health Adds Race, Ethnicity To COVID-19 Data

Apr 7, 2020

Credit Ohio Department of Health

Ohio's coronavirus tracking website is now showing a breakdown of cases and deaths by race and ethnicity. 

But the state health director says the information is incomplete. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports. 

In some areas across the country, the percentage of blacks dying of COVID-19 is much greater than the percentage in blacks in the population. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates nearly 82 percent of Ohio’s population is white, 13 percent black. But the Ohio Department of Health says 61 percent of those who died of COVID-19 were white, 10 percent black.  Director Amy Acton says her agency is sharing the data though there’s a problem. 

“25 percent of the cases that are being recorded in our database do not have race noted. A full 39 percent do not have ethnicity.”

Acton says some patients may be opting out of providing the information, which is often collected when they’re admitted. The data has always tracked cases by gender, and Acton says slightly more males are dying than females.