COVID Reporting Concerns

Not too long ago, I had a discussion with someone about the number of lab test results being reported. Unfortunately, I can’t find that conversation, but I seem to recall it was around my husband’s birthday, July 11. I can’t swear by that date, but that’s what I recall.

In that conversation, I explained that NH DHHS reported their tests two ways in their daily Press Release: Persons tested, and the number of tests. The number that I report every day as the number of tests are unique individuals. I shared that DHHS also reports the number of tests, because some, especially healthcare workers, are tested repeatedly. (We heard today that President Trump is tested daily, and sometimes more than once in a day.)

I expressed concern that the number of people reported in the daily press release wasn’t making sense to me. That report didn’t have a cumulative total. The Summary Report on the Dashboard doesn’t have a daily count, so I compute the daily count by subtracting “yesterday’s” cumulative total from “today’s” total. The two sets of similar data just didn’t line up. They should.

I’ve looked, and looked, and I can’t make sense of it.

Apparently, neither can DHHS. They have no longer reported this info after July 13, approximately two days after I expressed concern about this dataset.

This is what I have for the last week of that reporting. Antibody totals from the Press Report and from the Dashboard match. Why don’t they match for the PCR tests? Have they figured this out? Are we receiving accurate information?

Next, I looked at the number of PCR Tests. Since this isn’t included in the Dashboard, there is nothing to compare it to. However, the Press Release shows the test results for every day in the previous week. One would expect that the numbers would be the same every day that this is reported.

However, as this chart shows, the numbers keep changing! Each block is one day. Each color are numbers that have changed. The report says that this is the date that the info was provided to NH DHHS. I can’t figure this out. Believe me, I’ve tried!

Finally, I looked at the cumulative total number of Antibody Tests. In this short period of 13 days, there were three days when the total for the day was changed, but didn’t add up.

As I said the other day, I am concerned. There are a lot of weird things happening here. Maybe there is an explanation, but it isn’t obvious. We all make mistakes. But this appears to be way too many errors for my satisfaction.

Some won’t care about all of this, but how do we know the rest of the information we are receiving is accurate?

Commissioner Shibinette, the head of NH Department of Health and Human Services, today said, “Transparency and accurate data reporting is really important.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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