Ohio statistics

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.

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.

COVID-19 surge begins to show signs of easing

A two-month surge in COVID-19 infections in Ohio appears to be easing, state data shows (Source: “COVID-19 surge begins to ease in Ohio,” Ohio Capital Journal, Oct. 8).

On Oct. 1, the average rate of new infections by day fell to about 5,000, down from a recent high of about 7,400 per day in mid-September.

While less pronounced, the number of patients in the hospital on a given day with COVID-19 has declined as well. Fewer than 3,400 Ohioans are hospitalized with the disease as of Thursday, compared to about 3,700 in late September.

Of all COVID-19 tests taken statewide, an average of 12% are coming back positive as of Thursday, compared to about 14% in September.

The disease continues to spread at high rates, even compared to the peaks seen in late 2020. There’s also no telling how significantly the pandemic will continue to ebb. Regardless, the declines are a ray of optimistic news amid a summer and fall unexpectedly dominated by the Delta variant of the coronavirus that causes the disease.

Study: 1 in 20 Ohio children has elevated lead levels in blood, more than twice national rate

Ohio children have elevated levels of lead in their blood at more than two times the national rate, according to a study released Monday (Source: “Ohio kids’ show elevated lead blood levels at more than twice the national rate, study finds,” Ohio Capital Journal, Sept. 28).

The research, from JAMA Pediatrics, found about 5.2% of Ohio children have elevated levels of lead in their system.

Nationally, the rate is about 1.9%. Ohio ranked second nationally in terms of states with the highest rates of children with elevated blood levels.

Lead is a neurotoxin linked to developmental, mental, and physical impairment, and young children are especially vulnerable. There’s no safe level of exposure for children, though their blood is considered elevated when it contains 5 micrograms per deciliter.

Ohio is one of six states with kids’ proportions of elevated blood levels more than twice the national average, along with Nebraska (6%), Pennsylvania (5%), Missouri (4.5%), Michigan (4.5%) and Wisconsin (4.3%).

HPIO analysis identifies 12 strategies to prevent childhood trauma in Ohio

A new policy brief, “Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): A strategic approach to prevent ACEs in Ohio,” identifies 12 cost-beneficial strategies that state leaders can use to prevent adverse childhood experiences.

Earlier analysis from HPIO’s Ohio ACEs Impact project found that more than one-third of Ohio adults (36%) reported exposure to two or more ACEs. And first-of-its-kind analysis by HPIO estimated that more than $10 billion in annual healthcare and related spending could be avoided in Ohio if exposure to ACEs was eliminated.

“ACEs are not inevitable and Ohioans are resilient,” the new report states. “Exposure to ACEs does not have to determine future hardship. There are strategies that state policymakers and others can deploy to prevent ACEs and safeguard the well-being of Ohio children and families who have experienced adversity and trauma.” 

The report also highlights steps Ohio’s public and private leaders can take to ensure that communities across the state are equipped to support children and families that are most at risk for experiencing adversity and trauma – including Ohioans of color and Ohioans with low incomes, disabilities and/or who live in urban and Appalachian areas.

More than half of Ohioans have at least one dose of COVID vaccine, ODH reports

State health officials reported this week that Ohio’s vaccination rate finally surpassed 50% as 5,845,986, or 50.01% of Ohioans, have now received at least one dose (Source: “Ohio vaccination rate hits 50%,” Youngstown Vindicator, Aug. 9).

However, the statewide percentage of those who have completed the vaccination process is 46.46%.

Delaware County has the highest vaccination rate in Ohio, with 64.27% having at least one dose and 60.98% completing the process, according to ODH statistics.

The county with the lowest vaccination rate is Holmes County at 15.9%. The county is referred to as “Amish country” and is home to popular Amish tourism areas such as Walnut Creek and Sugar Creek. The county with the next lowest vaccination rate is Adams County in southern Ohio at 28.29%, according to the ODH.

98% of 2021 COVID hospitalizations in Ohio are unvaccinated, DeWine says

Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday that Ohio is at a "new stage of the pandemic" where vaccinated Ohioans are safe from the surging delta variant of the coronavirus while unvaccinated are not (Source: “’We’re at a new stage of the pandemic:' 98% of Ohioans hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated,” Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 6).

Of the 18,662 people with COVID-19 hospitalized since Jan. 1 in Ohio, 98.4% were not fully vaccinated, the Ohio Department of Health reported Friday. The agency plans to report that number every Thursday.

“The name of the game today is vaccines. This is where we win. This is where we don’t win,” DeWine said at his first COVID-19 briefing in six weeks. “We have two Ohios. We have people who are vaccinated who are very, very safe today. We have people who are vaccinated who are not safe and are more in peril because of this delta variant.”

But DeWine doesn't plan to mandate masks or issue other health orders to stem the latest surge. And while he hasn't ruled out more state incentives to get vaccinated, the Republican governor didn't announce one on Friday.

Ohio set new record for overdose deaths in 2020, CDC reports

The toll of fatal drug overdoses last year hit Ohio even worse than initially thought, according to newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Source: “Capitol Insider: As feared, Ohio smashes record for drug overdose deaths last year,” Columbus Dispatch, July 16).

The new figures showed that the agency projected Ohio to hit 5,215 drug deaths — fourth in the U.S. for the nation's seventh-largest state — breaking the record of 4,854 set in 2017. The CDC warned that the 2020 figure will grow; the current total is regarded as underreported due to incomplete data.

In 2014, Ohio led the country in overdose deaths — although the 2020 total is some 2.5 times higher.

A big jump was feared by many because of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Indeed, overdose deaths for the nation as a whole increased every month last year, the CDC data show.

In all, the U.S. saw 93,331 people die from drug overdoses in 2020, a 29.4% leap over 2019.

New HPIO brief explores connections between criminal justice and health

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a new brief titled  Connections between Criminal Justice and Health.

According to the brief, “The research evidence is clear that poor mental health and addiction are risk factors for criminal justice involvement and that incarceration is detrimental to health.”

The brief highlights the many factors that impact both criminal justice and health outcomes, finding that:

  • There is a two-way relationship between criminal justice and health. Mental health and addiction challenges can lead to arrest and incarceration, and incarceration contributes to poor behavioral and physical health for many Ohioans.
  • Racism and community conditions contribute to criminal justice involvement and poor health. Racist and discriminatory policies and practices and community conditions, such as poverty, housing instability and exposure to trauma, lead to increased criminal justice involvement and drive poor health outcomes.
  • Improvement is possible. There are evidence-informed policy solutions to combat the drivers of criminal justice involvement and poor health outcomes.

The brief includes 15 specific evidence-informed policy options focused on:

  • Supporting mental well-being and improving crisis response for people at higher risk of criminal justice involvement
  • Reducing the number of people incarcerated in Ohio
  • Improving health for people who are currently or formerly incarcerated
  • Improving community conditions for people who are at higher risk of criminal justice involvement

Heart disease, diabetes, other leading causes of death up in 2020, federal data shows

The U.S. saw remarkable increases in the death rates for heart disease, diabetes and some other common killers in 2020, and experts believe a big reason may be that people stayed away from the hospital for fear of catching COVID-19 (Source: “US deaths from heart disease and diabetes climbed amid COVID,” Associated Press, June 9).

The death rates — posted online this week by federal health authorities — add to the growing body of evidence that the number of lives lost directly or indirectly to the coronavirus in the U.S. is far greater than the officially reported COVID-19 death toll of nearly 600,000 in 2020-21.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 3.4 million Americans died in 2020, an all-time record. Of those deaths, more than 345,000 were directly attributed to COVID-19. The CDC also provided the numbers of deaths for some of the leading causes of mortality, including the nation’s top two killers, heart disease and cancer.

Earlier research done by demographer Kenneth Johnson at the University of New Hampshire found that an unprecedented 25 states, including Ohio, saw more deaths than births overall last year (most states typically have more births than deaths).