Kaiser Permanente says lab glitch led to backlog of thousands of COVID-19 tests 

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente said that technical issues with lab system processing have led to thousands of delayed COVID-19 test results since the end of July, GovTech reported Sept. 2. 

Sacramento, Calif.-based health offices reported backlogs totaling at least a couple of thousand COVID-19 cases throughout much of August and attributed the delayed reports to a tech issue involving Kaiser Permanente. The health system said the issue is believed to be resolved. 

"​​Kaiser Permanente is committed to transmitting timely, accurate data to the state," the health system wrote in an emailed statement to the Sacramento Bee. "Due to technical issues with our technology system, data transmission to the state's system from Kaiser Permanente's laboratories in Northern California has been delayed since late July." 

The health system said it has worked with its technology vendor to "fully resolve the problem, and believe the issue to be resolved," adding, "While this problem was occurring, we made the data available in an alternative format. We will continue to monitor the transmission of current data to ensure timely, complete, and accurate reporting." 

The reason behind Kaiser Permenente's lab issue wasn't immediately clear, but it started happening around the same time California providers began processing much higher volumes of test results because of the delta surge. Across the state, the daily number of tests performed tripled from an average of about 110,000 in July to 330,000 by late August, according to the California health department. 

COVID-19 diagnostic tests are conducted at county-run and community testing sites that are usually operated in partnerships with Kaiser Permanente or Sacramento's three other major health providers: Dignity Health's Mercy Medical Group, Sutter Health and UC Davis Health, according to the report. Tests are also sometimes administered via contracts with third-party labs. 


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