Ohio COVID-19 deaths show uptick during Delta variant wave


Chart emphasizes link between Delta cases, hospitalizations and deaths

covid memorial grove Chillicothe

Various groups affected by the global coronavirus pandemic gather to plant trees on April 30, 2021, at Ohio’s dedication of a COVID-19 Pandemic Memorial Grove at Great Seal State Park near Chillicothe, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Ohio have shown a recognizable increase since July as the Delta variant sweeps through the state as the dominant strain of the virus.

Now, death data is showing an increase, too.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 111 new deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, following 134 deaths on Friday (the last reporting day). It marked the first Friday-and-Tuesday instance of each day reporting more than 100 deaths since soon after ODH changed reporting systems in early March.

Before that change, cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 were reported to the same state-run system, and each had the same lag of up to 14 days. To be more accurate, ODH switched death reporting to a federally assisted system that lags one to six months. Deaths are also now reported twice a week instead of daily, usually Tuesday and Friday.

Looking at a graph of Ohio coronavirus deaths backdated to the death date, a clear upward trend starts to emerge around late July and early August.

This is roughly four weeks after cases started rising and two weeks after hospitalizations started rising, which shows the relationship between someone getting sick, going to the hospital and then dying from the virus.

ODH’s lag in death data is to blame for the apparent decrease in deaths on the chart despite cases and hospitalizations still increasing.

“We’ve seen deaths increase in the state during the delta surge with 28 Ohioans dying from COVID in the first week of July when we started seeing cases increase as a result of the delta variant,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday in a coronavirus briefing.

“But during the last week of August,” he continued, “that number had gone up to 147 Ohioans dying from COVID. That is an increase of over 400%.”

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