KIRO-7 noted that the state was reporting a high number of cases this week while announcing a drop in cases. The state says it is fixing a problem that has been going on for five months, which explains the high number of daily cases this week.
The Washington State Department of Health discovered it had missed five months of COVID test data from a lab. The error appears to be a combination of computer error and human error, according to the ministry.
“What we found was that a lab was submitted to us from December, due to a communication issue, this data was not actually being processed in our system,” said Juliana Grant, epidemiologist in the Washington State Department of Health. systems were handling data in a certain way and putting it somewhere, making it look like it was being processed, but it wasn’t, and humans on both sides didn’t get that .
Now the state is catching up with 22,000 COVID tests. State says 3,500 of the tests are positive, and while the lab or doctor’s office likely informed the patient of the result, the state did not know there was a need for follow-up through education or research contacts.
The missing data is primarily from King, Pierce and Spokane counties and dates back to December.
KIRO-7 asked if they could have impacted the reopening measures.
“We’re still working with the best data we have at the time, and the surveillance data is not static,” Grant explained.
These cases will be added to the state’s epidemiological curve on the date the test was processed.
“The case rate we have now is about the same as our peak last summer, but it’s definitely going down, and that’s the most critical thing,” Grant said.
This Memorial Day weekend, she urges people to get vaccinated, wear their masks when appropriate, socially distance themselves and wash their hands. She said vaccination is our way out of the pandemic.
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