20,000 Ohio COVID deaths: Good news in the data despite dark milestone


FILE-This Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021 file photo shows currently 73 crosses, representing deaths to COVID-19 in Nevada County, are part of the COVID Memorial, in Grass Valley, Calif. (Elias Funez/The Union via AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio recently hit a major coronavirus milestone, but the grim number does not tell the progress the state has made this spring in tackling the disease.

The Department of Health’s running count of deaths from COVID-19 reached 20,000 on Tuesday after an update of four day’s worth of data that brought the cumulative total to 20,021.

Those new deaths, which are backdated to the day of each person’s passing, show that Ohio reached 20,000 on Monday, May 24, with nine deaths on that date.

Although Ohio is now just one of 10 U.S. states to reach 20,000 deaths, the time it took the state to reach its most recent 1,000 was the longest since the earliest days of the pandemic.

It took Ohio more than two months – 67 days – to go from 19,000 to 20,000 deaths. That was the longest period since the state recorded its first 1,000 coronavirus deaths over 91 days, from Jan. 18 to April 28, 2020.

Milestone (deaths)TimeRank (of 20)
1,00091 days1
2,00028 days7
3,00059 days3
4,00043 days5
5,00048 days4
6,00020 days8
7,00011 days10
8,0007 daysT-13
9,0006 daysT-15
10,0005 daysT-20
11,0006 daysT-15
12,0005 daysT-20
13,0006 daysT-15
14,0006 daysT-15
15,0007 daysT-13
16,0008 days12
17,00010 days11
18,00015 days9
19,00034 days6
20,00067 days2
Source: Ohio Dept. of Health

ODH notes that a day’s death total is not considered final until two weeks afterward, so expect that 67-day gap to shrink slightly in the coming days.

Cuyahoga County has seen the most deaths in Ohio, with 2,194 residents dying from COVID-19. Other populous counties Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery and Summit round out the top five.

RankCounty (largest city)Deathsper 1,000
1.Cuyahoga (Cleveland)2,1941.78
2.Franklin (Columbus)1,4511.10
3.Hamilton (Cincinnati)1,2411.52
4.Montgomery (Dayton)1,0381.95
5.Summit (Akron)9951.84
Source: Ohio Dept. of Health

Since switching its death reporting system in March to favor accuracy instead of speed, new deaths are reported every two to five days. ODH reported 41 deaths on Tuesday, accounting for that day and the previous three days.

Forty-one deaths are the second fewest reported for a four-day period under the new system, behind 13 deaths from May 8-11.

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