Why did 77 Ohio prisoners die of COVID-19, but just 10 in Pennsylvania?

A look at how overcrowding and poor design contributed to two of the worst national outbreaks

This article was provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. For the first two months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., Ohio’s response set an example. Thanks to an early shutdown order, the state’s per-capita deaths from the virus as of late April were less than half of those in neighboring Pennsylvania, a state with similar demographics. But inside the two states’ prison systems, it was a different story. 

By late April , the death rate from COVID-19 in Ohio prisons was 22 per 100,000, a rate more than 4 ½ times the overall Ohio rate and nearly twice the national rate. 

As of August 14, there have been 77 inmate deaths known to be caused by COVID-19, and another 10 suspected— a rate of 160 deaths per 100,000 people.

Interactive: See the Lands Sold to Fund Ohio’s Land “Grant” Universities

Native Americans Demand More Recognition From Universities They Funded, Sometimes Unwillingly

This story was funded by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list or text us at (216) 867-6327 as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Growing up in Cleveland, Eastern Band Cherokee tribal member Nicole Doran said Chief Wahoo always made her uncomfortable. 

“I remember growing up and seeing this caricature of Native Americans that I knew wasn’t true,” Doran said. 

Later she earned a biology degree at the Ohio State University. Doran loved the campus and appreciated the opportunities given to her, but she was not happy about the lack of Native American acknowledgement on campus.

Ohioans Speak Out in Focus Group Project: They Want More Accountability, Less Infighting

Just months before Election Day, voters of all stripes in Ohio are at the same time both worried and hopeful. They’re not sure who to trust in the media and government. They’re concerned about economic security for themselves and fellow Americans. They aren’t sure how the election will go down during a pandemic. They want honest leaders to come up with more fixes to serious problems.

But at the same time, they are hopeful that the protests are opening eyes to systemic racism, the need for reform and the next generation of leadership.

Sidebar: What You Need to Know to Vote This Year

How to register to vote: You can register online here: https://olvr.ohiosos.gov/ You can also download an application, print it, and mail it to your county board of elections. When to register to vote: To vote in the Nov. 3 election, your application must be received by mail, or delivered to the board of elections office, or online no later than Monday, Oct. 5. Boards of elections are open Oct.

HB 6 repeal would address only part of Ohio lawmakers’ recent actions to slow renewables

But a complete repeal is needed as a minimum to undo the bill’s gutting of the clean energy standards, advocates say. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for Energy News as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Both Republican and Democratic Ohio lawmakers are pushing to repeal the state’s nuclear bailout bill after this week’s release of a federal criminal complaint against House Speaker Larry Householder and others. Clean energy advocates say that would be a start, but more is needed to address eight years of lawmakers’ actions to slow the growth of renewables in the state.

Tens of thousands of Ohioans told to repay unemployment benefits

After waiting weeks for unemployment insurance payments, some are receiving letters demanding they pay back thousands; software troubles continue to dog system

Marnie Behan got a surprising message in April from Ohio’s Department of Jobs and Family Services about her ongoing unemployment payments. Instead of sending her next unemployment payment, they said she needed to pay the Department. The bill was almost $3,000. She had 45 days to repay it, or the case would be sent to the Ohio Attorney General. Since March 15, new claims have inundated the unemployment system at a level not seen since The Great Depression.

Ohio hospitals remain mum on changes to local bed and ventilator counts; uncertainty affects local patients

The Ohio Department of Health gets daily updates on the total number of beds and ventilators that could be available for COVID-19 patients at hospitals throughout the state. But so far the agency hasn’t provided any hospital-by-hospital breakdown, and the agencies that collect capacity information on their behalf have also declined to release their assessments. The result: Ohioans don’t know how many beds and ventilators are available where they live. Timely and meaningful knowledge could benefit Ohioans from a health perspective, while also helping them understand the range of public policy issues surrounding the crisis. 

The availability of resources to care for COVID-19 patients could mean life or death for thousands of Ohioans. “It’s what keeps me awake at night,” said Ohio Department of Health (ODH) director of health Amy Acton, MD, MPH of her fear of running out of beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment.

Eye on Ohio Launches Project to Combat Misinformation and Disinformation on the Internet

Shana Black, Eye on Ohio's First Draft Fellow. On Thursday, a Cleveland man tweeted a picture saying that that local residents had taken to the streets to end COVID-19. The internet launched a vitriolic response, condemning the city for further spreading the disease. But no one, in fact, had marched. The tweet came from a satire account that had posted an old picture of a Cleveland Cavalier championship victory.