DeWine calls for more data mining capacity to fight COVID

In the middle of a global pandemic, Ohio is relying on two data systems that cannot easily pull out data and give state leaders crucial information, Gov. Mike DeWine said on Friday.

DeWine pledged to build a new statewide system for tracking and collecting data on diseases. One of the two systems used by the Ohio Department of Health is 19 years old and cannot perform data mining queries that are essential for analysis, he said.

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“We have ignored public health. We have to stop ignoring public health. This ought to be a real wake up call for us. We’ve got to understand the role of public health,” DeWine said. “...We got to fix these systems. We have to get them up to date. Look, we can’t even tell you today the number of flu deaths that we have. That’s just ridiculous. All this data - we got to get better data.”

Ohio’s decentralized governing system means it relies on data entry from 88 county coroners and 113 local health departments. “We have got to design a system for the 21st century,” DeWine said.

The Ohio Department of Health on Friday reported 98,675 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases; 3,652 deaths attributed to confirmed and probable cases; and 11,447 cumulative hospitalizations.

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The DeWine administration also announced Friday that schools can begin applying Monday for a new BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant to help defray the cost of hotspots and internet-enabled devices for students. A total of $50 million will be available.

More guidance about sports at the junior high, high school and college level will be announced next week, DeWine said.

The governor said that he has confidence in how schools are handling the pandemic, but that the concern lies with what students do once they leave the classrooms.

The governor reiterated the importance of social distancing, wearing masks and good hand washing as the most effective ways to slow the spread of the virus.

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