Decimal point errors in Florida's reporting of positive tests

Fox 35 has found errors in the positivity rate of coronavirus infections from Florida testing sites that look to be skewing it a lot higher that it should be:

Here’s more:

> FOX 35 – The Florida Department of Health released its daily coronavirus testing report showing a statewide positivity rate of 11 percent, but FOX 35 News investigated and quickly noticed some shocking positivity rates.
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> Countless labs have reported a 100 percent positivity rate, which means every single person tested was positive. Other labs had very high positivity rates. FOX 35 found that testing sites like Centra Care reported that 83 people were tested and all tested positive. Then, NCF Diagnostics in Alachua reported 88 percent of tests were positive.
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> How could that be? FOX 35 News investigated these astronomical numbers, contacting every local location mentioned in the report.
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> The report showed that Orlando Health had a 98 percent positivity rate. However, when FOX 35 News contacted the hospital, they confirmed errors in the report. Orlando Health’s positivity rate is only 9.4 percent, not 98 percent as in the report.
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> The report also showed that the Orlando Veteran’s Medical Center had a positivity rate of 76 percent. A spokesperson for the VA told FOX 35 News on Tuesday that this does not reflect their numbers and that the positivity rate for the center is actually 6 percent.
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> FOX 35 News has yet to hear from the other labs or the Florida Department of Health to explain how the error could have been made on an official report.

You can go directly to their twitter feed for the story as well. Will be interesting to see the follow-up…

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So…the point is, that the situation is not as bad as its being made out to be in Florida, especially Miami-Dade?

Even if the data presenting the percentage of positive tests is skewed, what accounts for the number of hospital admissions, people in ICU, and deaths? Are they reporting errors too?

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One thing that happens is something like this: a pregnant woman is admitted for pregnancy-related reasons, and also tests positive for covid.

The hospital can’t put her in the maternity ward and they put her in ICU because then she will have her own room, which she gets because of her test results.

So even tho she has no symptoms and is there for pregnancy-related reasons, she is counted as an ICU covud case.

This does not necessarily explain all the cases and it may well be that the numbers actually are going up. It’s just that getting an accurate count of what is happening would require examining each individual case.

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Well, she is a COVID case, isn’t she?

Its already been established (other than in the Rose Garden or WH Press Briefing Room) that those infected but not symptomatic still can spread the virus.

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Yes, I can’t believe how skewed these results are.

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No, she is not.

All along we have had the problem of asymptomatic covid cases. At first we had no idea of how many there were because we only tested people who had fairly serious symptoms.

Now we are testing people more generally, so the numbers are going up because we are not taking into account that we are testing people who previously would still have had it but not been tested.

So we keep an eye on ICU admissions and deaths. If more people test positive, but ICU admissions and deaths fall, then the situation is not worsening, we just know more about it.

If someone who is in ICU just for quarantine purposes and he or she is counted as an ICU covid case, that makes the situation look worse than it really is.

Therefore, we need to be careful about how we look at the numbers.

PS This is not to say that I do not think covid is a serious problem or that people should not wear masks or something like that, but if we are deciding big-picture issues, such as opening schools, we need to have an accurate idea of what is happening, not one skewed by over-generalization.

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This is silly.

  • An asymptomatic covid case is a covid case.
  • A “slightly symptomatic” case is a covid case, even if the person is treated at home.
  • A hospital admission covid case is a covid case, even if they aren’t on a ventilator
  • A ICU admission for covid is a covid case
  • An admission for respiratory distress that tests positive for covid is a covid case.
  • A person who presents in the ED with a broken arm and tests positive is a covid case

They are all covid cases and should be reported as positive tests.

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With this logic, if police departments did not have Sobriety Checkpoints during Holiday weekends, the municipality’s DUI rate would go down, because previously only drivers appearing to be driving erratically were given Field Sobriety Tests.

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That’s fine, but just reporting cases isn’t sufficient context on its own. Also need reporting of ICU beds used and deaths.

Don’t forget the CDC essentially admitted a few weeks ago that the actual infected was likely around 10 times the number of cases reported. They were just confirming previous papers on the topic dating as far back as March (refer to Stanford Professor John Ioannidis for starters). So with expanded testing, of course we’re going to get more positives. So the media screams from the rooftops about the cases. But they’re not reporting hospitalizations and deaths with context. Such as compare and contrast with NY or other locales with loose lockdowns. Or compare and contrast elder care policies with NY, NJ, etc.

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Yes, finding the right metric(s) to track is hard.

I think they all should be used. Admissions, ICU admissions, deaths, as well as tests, positive tests, and positive antibodies.

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Exactly.

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