WILMINGTON — When the medical director for the Clinton County Health District was handed the death certificates recorded in the county in October, it was the largest monthly stack since at least 2015.
The local death certificates for October numbered 56, and of those deaths, 18 were attributed to COVID, said Medical Director Terry Holten, M.D.
The second highest number of deaths recorded in any single month since at least 2015 was the prior month, September. And the third highest was last December — the month in which the greatest number of COVID deaths here were recorded, Holten said.
For purposes of her statistical study, Holten looked back to 2015, so these are not necessarily all-time highs. It’s also relevant to keep in mind that death certificates record deaths that occur within a county, so as always some of the recorded deaths are not necessarily Clinton Countians.
Continuing with her numerical examination, Holten said the average number of recorded deaths per month since 2015 had been — until this year — about 27. The monthly average for this year through October is 34.
“So that’s like seven excess deaths [per month],” she noted.
With some further arithmetic, it roughly comes out that 50 percent of excess deaths this year are due to COVID, said Holten. In October, there also were two drug overdose deaths in Clinton County.
In looking over the death certificates, Holten said “far too many of the death certificates don’t contain adequate information.”
But for those death certificates that have information about how long the person was sick with COVID before they died, most of them report illnesses lasting weeks, not days.
Of the 18 October deaths from COVID within Clinton County, three of those occurred at their homes, while the remaining 15 took place at Clinton Memorial Hospital.
According to Holten’s understanding, the last time a COVID death occurred inside a long-term care facility in Clinton County was in January.
As of Monday, the Ohio Department of Health website lists a cumulative total of 106 Clinton County residents who have died from COVID. About half of those deaths occurred outside the county, with the patients having been admitted to Cincinnati or Dayton hospitals, especially perhaps in the pandemic’s earlier stages, said the medical director.
Also at Monday morning’s monthly board of health meeting, Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Walker-Bauer said as of Sunday afternoon there were 337 active COVID cases.
“So, we had a bit of a Halloween bump, or a moving indoor bump,” the health commissioner said.
“We’re still at a high-spread in Clinton County, as well as the rest of the state and pretty much all of the Midwest,” Walker-Bauer said on Monday.
She said there’s been a good response for vaccinating local children ages 5 through 11 since they became eligible.
Walker-Bauer added it’s been “kind of surprising to us as we had to continue to add new slots when we went into the schools for those vaccinations.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.