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Resolve data issues

We live in an era where most of us carry in our pockets smartphones with many times the computing power of what sent Americans to the moon.

And yet, we still cannot seem to get county, state and federal computers to talk to each other well enough to ensure the data we need is accurate.

Last week, Ohio’s auditor’s office reported the discovery of as many as 4,000 unreported COVID-19 deaths in the state.

This was not news to us or to our readers. As we have reported on at least two occasions, local health department representatives have reportedly infection and death counts that differ — sometimes wildly — from the figures published by the state at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Auditor Keith Faber has been going through Health Department coronavirus death data since September, and his communications director says the problem with access to the federal database was federal health privacy laws.

Meanwhile, the state Health Department reports “process issues affecting the reconciliation and reporting of (COVID-19) deaths” began in October, with most occurring in December. It should not take a report from the state auditor’s office for those at all levels of reporting and analyzing this data to get their ducks in a row.

Such discrepancies are creating skepticism and doubt — as well as resistance to health recommendations — at a time when it is crucial to provide accurate, reliable information about this deadly disease. Ohioans need to know they can trust the information they receive from the state.

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