Sept. 11, 2020: “Ohio’s nursing home deaths are clustered”

by Deon J. Hampton of the Cincinnati Enquirer

Today’s Chillicothe Gazette included an article on Ohio’s Covid-19 nursing home deaths. The main point of the article is the fact that while nursing home deaths were seen in “at least 250 nursing homes” “the deaths were concentrated in a quarter of those facilities…”.

That really wasn’t all that surprising, but something else in the article was. It was the statement that: “Nursing homes accounted for 64% of all of Ohio’s coronavirus deaths.” I thought that was so surprising since only 11% of Ross County cases were related to nursing homes.

I went to the Ohio Department of Health’s website to see how many Covid-19 deaths the state has seen. (Unlike Ross County Health Department’s website site, I had to work hard to find the Covi-19 data.) It showed 4,064 deaths and another 290 expanded count deaths for a total of 4,354 total Covid-19 deaths. 64% of that number is 2,786 leaving only 1,568 deaths not related to nursing homes. Prisons have also been a source of a substantial number of coronavirus cases and possibly deaths Healthcare workers also represent a large concentration of cases. So it is reasonable to assume that the percentage of deaths not related to nursing homes, prisons and the healthcare profession is much less than 36%.

So, while not the purpose of the article, what the article indirectly pointed out is how few deaths have occurred outside the nursing home environment.

A search on the internet resulted in a source that estimated Ohio’s 2019 population at 11.69 million people. If Ohio’s overall death rate is 1% that would be 116,900 deaths a year. If it is 1.5% it would be approximately 175,000. So Covid-19 deaths so far only equals 1% of Ohio’s normal annual deaths.

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