Most Valley COVID-19 Deaths Are Senior-Care Residents

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Deaths at senior living complexes are responsible for the lion’s share of COVID-19 deaths in the area, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health released by Your Voice Ohio.

In Mahoning County, deaths of residents at senior-care centers account for 80.9% of all coronavirus deaths, 199 of the total 246 since April 15. In Trumbull County, such deaths were 63.4% of the total – 78 of 123 – and in Columbiana County, they were 68.3%, or 56 of 82. 

Statewide, nursing home deaths account for 60.5% – 3,523 of 5,827 – of all COVID-19 deaths since April 15. 

Unlike the ZIP code map released earlier this week by the Department of Health, the data on nursing homes can not be sorted by date – the ZIP code map can be sorted by cases in the previous two weeks, 30 days and cumulative total – making it difficult to put together a complete picture of how deaths may be trending.

However, the state does release case counts for every senior-care center in the state daily, listing both current and cumulative cases for residents and staff. Through that list, a clearer picture emerges.

Across the 59 locations listed on the page, only two report current resident cases in the double digits: Salem North at 10 and Briarfield Manor at 12. The vast majority, 42, report no current cases among its resident. In Mahoning County, there are 46 current cases, along with 12 in Columbiana County and seven in Trumbull County.

Among current staff cases, only one, Ohio Living Lake Vista, reports double-digit cases, with 13. Across Mahoning County, there are 58 active cases among employees, 22 for employees in Trumbull County and eight for employees in Columbiana County.

In Columbiana County, only two of the eight senior-care centers reported current cases among staff: Salem North with seven and Circle of Care with one. 

Meanwhile, of the 37 sites in Mahoning County, roughly half report at least one case; Humility House Nursing Home has the most with nine. Of the remaining, only Ivy Woods with six and Hampton Woods reported more than five current COVID-19 cases among staff.

And in Trumbull County, four of 12 sites report at least one case: Ohio Living Lake Vista with 13, O’Brien Memorial Nursing Home with four, Shepherd of the Valley Liberty with three and Windsor House at Liberty with two.

Also in the data released was a breakdown of COVID-19 deaths by race for each county. Statewide, of the 5,772 deaths between April 15 and Nov. 18, 4,444 are White residents, 935 are Black residents, 190 are listed as “other/multiracial” and 161 are listed as unknown. 

That ratio shows the outsized toll the pandemic has taken on people of color in the state. Whereas White people are 81.7% of Ohio’s total population, they are 77% of COVID-19 deaths. Likewise, Black people are 16.2% of COVID-19 deaths but 13.1% of the population.

Locally, the discrepancy is largest in Columbiana County, where Black people are 2.5% of the total population but 4.3% of the 93 COVID-19 deaths. However, that number is potentially skewed by nearly 10% of deaths listed with an unknown race.

In Trumbull County, Black residents account for 9.3% of the county’s 140 deaths despite accounting for 8.6% of the total population; deaths of White residents account for 80.7% of the total, well below their 88.4% representation in the total population. 

And in Mahoning County, the numbers are most even though still disproportionately affecting people of color. White residents are 85.5% of the 297 deaths, though 80.3% of the total population, while Black residents are 11.1% of the COVID-19 deaths and 16.3% of the population.

News organizations across the state are working to get access to data from the Ohio Department of Health to help them paint a clearer picture of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the state. 

Wednesday night, after a court order from the Ohio Court of Claims, the Ohio Department of Health released a set of records, albeit incomplete, detailing the number of beds, ventilators and other medical equipment available at every hospital in the state.

The data release was the result of a lawsuit filed by Eye on Ohio in April, relating to a records request made March 19, days into the first pandemic shutdown.

The records contain most bed capacity information from local hospitals from late March, but records abruptly end on Oct. 30. At press time, it was not clear why. On that date, 33 hospitals reported zero beds available for adults  in the “Med/Surg” and “Critical Care” categories at some point during the day. 

The data also contains a record of the number of ventilators available, but most other medical equipment numbers are missing. ODH said they had no data on staffing levels.

Ohio’s public records law and the court’s order call for state agencies to provide the public records, as opposed to edited summaries that might pick and choose which information is provided. For the records on the SurgeNet database, this could be done in multiple ways. The department could grant a login and password with limited access so Eye on Ohio could download the public records directly. The department could provide an Excel-compatible document with each day’s data for all hospitals via a ZIP file or DropBox link. Or, the agency could provide screenshots with the requested records for each day.  

The full set of data from Your Voice Ohio detailing deaths in senior-care centers and a breakdown of deaths by race can be found HERE

he information on cases at each nursing home is available HEREvia the Ohio Department of Health.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.