California's coronavirus testing marred by glitches, possible undercount of positive cases, public health official says

Public health officials in California warned that the state's decline in COVID-19 case rate may be inaccurate due to a test processing glitch, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Five things to know:

1. The COVID-19 test-processing system the state uses has experienced technical issues that have delayed results, according to the report.The California health department learned of the glitches during an emergency meeting the evening of Aug. 3.

2. The glitches have resulted in undercounting the positive cases and affected contact-tracing efforts. However, it does not affect publicly reported hospitalization and intensive care data.

3. California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly, MD, said the glitches affected the state's seven-day positivity rate, which had dropped 21.2 percent week-over-week on Aug. 3.

4. The Times said it was unable to uncover more information about the number of uncounted COVID-19 cases, including how long cases have been undercounted and why these reporting delays are different from delays in the past..

5. Dr. Ghaly said the state's public health department is trying to figure out where the data backlogs are and he isn't sure when the problem will be fixed.

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