California COVID-19 data discrepancies leave health official 'feeling blind'

Several issues are contributing to the state underreporting COVID-19 cases and deaths, California health secretary Mark Ghaly, MD, said on Aug. 4, according to The Press-Enterprise.

The flawed data shows COVID-19 cases dropped 17 percent in the past week while deaths increased 20 percent; Dr. Ghaly said the California health department has identified some discrepancies in data reported and is working to obtain accurate information from labs. The issues are due to a glitch in the reporting system that affects the number of cases reported, but not the number of deaths or hospitalizations.

Los Angeles city officials are frustrated with the inaccurate data as they try to make decisions about resource management and reopening.

"We just don't know if our cases are rising, plateauing or decreasing," said Sara Cody, MD, Santa Clara County health officer in the report. Some health experts have said California hit its peak of COVID-19 cases based on current data, but Dr. Ghaly's announcement of case under-reporting casts doubt on whether the state actually hit its peak.

Dr. Ghaly said the glitch in the state's COVID-19 case reporting system affected the seven-day positivity rate, and Dr. Cody said in an Aug. 5 news conference that the incomplete data means the county is "back to feeling blind," according to a report from a local CBS station.

More articles on health IT:
How data analytics empower clinical, operational staff decision-making: 5 insights
'What the heck is this?': Pennsylvania lawmaker questions data when COVID-19 hospitalizations drop 30% after switching to HHS system
Ohio governor declines to share promised COVID-19 contact tracing data, but says one churchgoer spread virus to 90 others

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers