Ohio public health

Ohio’s life expectancy ranks near bottom in U.S.

New federal data released last week found life expectancy in Ohio is worse than 41 other states and is the lowest-ranked of the top 10 most populated U.S. states (Source: “Ohio's life expectancy among the worst in U.S.,” Axios-Columbus, Feb 17).

The average life expectancy at birth in Ohio is 76.9, according to 2019 state-by-state data released by the CDC last week. That is down about a full year since 2010. Ohio joins neighbors Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia in the low CDC rankings, along with most southeastern states.

The findings are consistent with those in HPIO’s 2021 Health Value Dashboard, which ranked Ohio 47th on health value, a composite measure of population health and health care spending. The Dashboard identified three key factors for Ohio’s low ranking: childhood adversity and trauma, systemic inequities and sparse spending on public health and prevention efforts.


COVID cases declining in Ohio, but still 'quite high,' ODH director says

COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases are continuing to decrease in Ohio after the record-setting omicron variant peaked in January (Source: “Ohio’s COVID hospitalizations, cases continue to decline but remain high,” Dayton Daily News, Feb. 10).

In the past three weeks, Ohio’s seen the number of COVID patients in the state’s hospitals and ICUs decrease by 50%.

“While I think we can all be very encouraged by the improving trends we’re seeing all across the state, let’s remember that our numbers in Ohio are really still quite high and we need to be careful not to let our guard down too soon,” said ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.

Despite the decrease in coronavirus cases, Ohio’s transmission rate is still nearly five times higher than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of a high transmission rate. In the past two weeks, Ohio is averaging 481 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. The CDC defines a high transmission rate as 100 cases or more per 100,000 people. None of the state’s 88 counties reported fewer than 100 COVID cases per 100,000 people.


ODH Director: ‘COVID-19 is not going away’

A record 1 in every 46 Ohioans was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past two weeks, with the Ohio Department of Health's director saying the virus “will be a part of our health care landscape for the foreseeable future” (Source: “Record number of Ohioans contract COVID-19,” Youngstown Vindicator, Jan. 21).

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, head of ODH, said Thursday despite “signs of improvement in some of Ohio’s first and hardest-hit areas of this historic and record-shattering surge of COVID-19 cases,” people shouldn’t “breathe such a sigh of relief that they think this is entirely over. We’re still dealing with this surge. COVID-19 is not going away.”

It was the sixth consecutive week that Ohio hit a record high number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.


Ohio COVID deaths exceed 30k, hospitalizations remain at record levels

Ohio reached a grim milestone of more than 30,000 deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began, as hospitalizations continue to set new records (Source: “COVID deaths in Ohio reach 30,000 across pandemic,” Hamilton Journal-News, Jan. 7).

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) added 398 deaths on Friday, bringing the total to 30,072.

COVID-19 hospitalizations were only slightly up Friday, but still set a record for the ninth consecutive day as the 21-day case average for the first time exceeded 15,000. COVID patients make up one-third of all hospitalizations across the state and represent one-third of all ICU patients.

There were 19,563 new coronavirus cases reported Friday, which brings the 21-day case average to 15,355, ODH reported.


ODH Director warns that COVID cases in Ohio are ‘very serious situation’

State health director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff again pleaded with Ohioans to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as cases and hospitalizations spike across the country (Source: “Ohio facing 'very serious situation' as COVID cases skyrocket, state's top doctor says,” Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 16).

According to the state COVID-19 dashboard, Ohio has reported more than 10,000 cases per day for the past three days. On Friday, Ohio also reported 395 new hospitalizations and 434 deaths.

The increase in cases has pushed hospitalizations near record-highs with 4,723 Ohioans with COVID hospitalized as of Thursday, according to the Ohio Hospital Association.

The 1,177 COVID-positive patients in Ohio's intensive care units are also approaching a pandemic record high, Vanderhoff said. Around 22% of COVID patients in an ICU are under the age of 50 and 13% are under the age of 40, Vanderhoff said.

"Simply put we're in a very serious situation but we have a powerful tool in vaccination that can strengthen our protection against severe cases of COVID-19," he said.


Ohio COVID cases, hospitalizations rising again, health officials warn

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in Ohio as vaccination rates lag behind other states – a dangerous combination with cold weather and holidays approaching, experts say (Source: “’This virus is not going away': COVID-19 cases in Ohio increase ahead of Thanksgiving,” Columbus Dispatch, Nov. 17).

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 12% of tests came back positive in the most recent week documented compared to a 7-day average of 9.5% earlier this month. The state also reported 6,382 new cases on Wednesday, the highest one-day total since early October. 

Health officials say Ohio is in better shape than it was a few months ago when cases and hospitalizations surged because of the highly contagious delta variant. Still, hospital leaders have seen an increase in COVID-19 patients this month and worry the numbers will hold steady as people begin to gather inside for the winter and celebrate holidays.

Meanwhile, roughly 52% of Ohioans are fully immunized against COVID-19. That places Ohio ahead of neighboring Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia but behind 34 other states, according to the Mayo Clinic.


DeWine announces statewide campaign to combat addiction, mental illness stigma

Gov. Mike DeWine, along with health officials from across the state, announced a new campaign this week aiming to reduce the stigmas surrounding addiction and mental illness (Source: “Ohio launches statewide campaign to combat stigmas around addiction, mental illness,” WVXU radio, Nov. 10).

The "Beat The Stigma" campaign is the result of months of research and input from Ohio’s addiction and mental health experts. DeWine says addiction and mental health experts understand that these are diseases, not a moral failing or a result of weak character. He says the campaign attacks stigma directly.

In October, HPIO released a fact sheet titled “Refocusing Ohio’s Approach to Overdose Death” that found that drug overdose deaths in Ohio outpaced the national average over the past 20 years and stigma was a driver of those deaths.


HPIO releases fact sheet on policy options to address overdose deaths

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a new fact sheet, Refocusing Ohio’s Approach to Overdose Deaths.

“Drug overdose deaths are preventable and there are many ways to deter and reverse overdoses,” the fact sheet states. “Recent upward trends in overdose deaths are troubling. Without a comprehensive policy response that takes into consideration the many factors that contribute to overdose, Ohioans will continue to die, leaving behind grieving families and untapped potential.”

This fact sheet explores:

  • What drives overdose deaths
  • Why overdose deaths continue to increase
  • What Ohio can do to improve overdose prevention

This fact sheet was released in conjunction with the HPIO policy brief, Taking Action to Strengthen Ohio’s Addiction Response.


Advocates push state to use more federal dollars for school-based health clinics

Ohio child advocacy groups and doctors are pushing for more state funding to add additional school-based health clinics in the state (Source: “Child advocacy groups, doctors want to see more state funding for school-based health clinics,” News 5 Cleveland, Oct. 20).

The Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio and other child advocacy groups are asking the state to allocate $25 million from the American Rescue Plan Act for the next two years to help set up clinics for additional districts in the state.

Ohio received about $5 billion from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. So far, about $3 billion has yet to be allocated. According to the Treasury Department, funds must be incurred by Dec. 31, 2024.


COVID transmission rate continues to decline in Ohio

Coronavirus cases are continuing to decline, with Ohio’s two-week cases per 100,000 people dropping from 560.5 cases per 100,000 people on Oct. 7 to 507.4 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday, according to the state health department (Source: “Ohio continues to see decrease in COVID-19 transmission rate,” Dayton Daily News, Oct. 14).

The transmission rate has been declining for at least three weeks and has decreased by nearly 200. On Sept. 23, Ohio reported 698.7 cases per 100,000 people over two weeks.

As of Thursday, only five counties had more than 1,000 cases per 100,000: Guernsey, Coshocton, Muskingum, Gallia and Jackson counties. On Sept. 23, Ohio had 30 counties with more than 1,000 cases per 100,000.

More than 54.5% of Ohioans have started the COVID-19 vaccine, including 65.97% of adults and 63.88% of those 12 and older. Nearly 51% of residents have finished the vaccine, including 61.66% of adults and 59.56% of Ohioans 12 and older.