State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted title=
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted
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By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County officials announced a technological error within the state's COVID-19 reporting has severely undercounted cases.

On Monday night, the state informed all county public health departments of a technical issue causing a significant undercount of completed COVID-19 tests and test results throughout California, including the local level.

When tests are conducted throughout the state, information is inputted into the state's California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE). While examining a steep decline in the number of tests completed and positive test results, the state discovered information was delayed into the system or not reported at all, said Supervisor Gregg Hart. 

"The result is a serious concern of a significant undercount of positive COVID-19 test results throughout California," said Hart. "This statewide issue has likely affected the accuracy of our local numbers."

In response, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is working with counties and labs to revert to a manual reporting system as well as upgrading servers and systems to validate reports. The backlog of numbers will process approximately 250,000 to 300,000 records statewide.

The state announced today it identified the sources of the technical failures and hope the system will be back online late next week.

In the meantime, the local Public Health Department (PHD) is working to manually record local case data and confirmed patient care and testing results have not been affected or delayed by this issue.

PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated their department noticed glitches in the CalREDIE system long before they were contacted on Monday and were in constant communication with the state about the errors. 

"We are providing you with the best information that we currently have. I want to stress that our local data is underreporting of the actual number of tests performed, the case rate, and the testing positivity rates until the state resolves their data issues with electronic lab records and CalREDIE," said Do-Reynoso.

Gatherings & Youth Sports

Health officials have previously urged local residents to partake in virtual-only celebrations of Old Spanish Days Fiesta this year. Earlier today they released a statement that the annual Fiesta Cruiser Run should not take place due to COVID-19 concerns.

Gatherings of any size, meaning anyone who is outside of your household, are not safe and mixing and mingling in the most common way to spread COVID-19, explained Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg.

"Fiesta needs to be a virtual event this year," said Hart.

Dr. Ansorg also stated that all youth sports, whether school-based or through club and recreation, must be conditioning-based on individual skill building without the use of equipment.

When comparing the difference between school and youth sports, Dr. Ansorg explained that youth sports are only allowed under very narrow circumstances meaning it must be outdoors with zero contact between participants.

The Numbers As We Know It

The PHD is reporting the latest COVID-19 numbers, although the overall totals of positive cases and testing may change when the state's technical glitch is updated.

PHD reports 58 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and an additional death bringing the county's death toll to 69. The latest death was over 70 years of age with underlying health conditions and was a resident of Santa Maria.

The total case count is 6,704 with 198 active cases. There are currently 84 hospitalizations including 29 in the intensive care unit (ICU).

More information on data can be found here.

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ChemicalSuperFreak Aug 07, 2020 07:19 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

The reported test for the past few days have been around 500/day, which is 1/3 of what they were in the past month. Is this a result of the "glitch"? One thing it's doing is driving down the 14-day average of new positives per 100,000 people, a metric we need (less than 100) to get off the state's monitoring. However, the other metric of % of positives is now above 8%, which keeps you on the monitoring list. It's a tug of war between these two numbers, and I hope this glitch isn't the result of someone trying to manipulate the data, one way or another.

ChemicalSuperFreak Aug 07, 2020 07:52 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

Hi GRAMMASB: I've been following all the published data on a daily basis and analyzing it myself. I've been quite vocal about problems I've detected in the numbers for some time. Some things are just so obvious it's like getting slapped in the face. Daily totals of new cases don't add up in columns on the PHD website. No increase in deaths for a couple of weeks, while the number of people in the hospital, ICUs, and on ventilators goes up with many of those facing a terrible outcome yet none seem to die? Other issues require a deeper look into the data, which I've done. The complexities of that analysis are beyond the scope of discussion here, but they've caught my attention and made me concerned. We've seen reversal after reversal from the local and state level, to the national level, by so called health experts on things like masks. Way, way back, here on Edhat in February and March, when toilet paper and masks were impossible to find, I and others pointed out that masks alone were not good enough. Several of us pointed out that you need to protect your eyes, as they are entry points for droplets. Only now, in the last week, some 5 or 6 months later Dr. Fauci is saying we should protect our eyes. I fully understand why doubters have so much ammunition to question the decisions that politicians and health care advisors make. It's a tragic failure on so many levels.

a-1596897509 Aug 08, 2020 07:38 AM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

Since Public Health doesn't actually give us any kind of qualitative info, I'm guessing it's a combination of the state testing data being under reported plus the fact that they have been telling us for at least a month to only get a test if you feel symptoms. That would explain why positivity rate has gone up, with cases going down. Can't really tell by hospitalizations either, b/c it seems like it's stayed consistent mostly b/c people kicked the bucket. We are missing the asymptomatic people with this strategy though, so it kind of defeats the point of knowing community spread rates. And with Isla Vista starting to increase and students coming back (with no plan from Public Health on how to handle this), I don't see a real bending of a curve any time soon personally.

Sagepup Aug 07, 2020 11:03 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

I am now at the point I do not trust what the gov. Says. Looking at the data from around the country and other countries, I feel this may be misleading. But it not like the Gov. has never lied to us before. Who would ever think that?

vvorker Aug 08, 2020 06:57 AM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

Wow..more deletes than posts, not a good sign, but here we go!

Who ya gonna trust these days, as for Game Theory, Nash equilibrium is our only option. John Nash was the guy they made the movie "A beautiful Mind" about!

I recommend an hour BBC documentary, by Adam Curtis, The series is called "The Trap" and the episode is titled " F.... you buddy" it will change your life forever!!

In God we Trust?

haskelslocal Aug 08, 2020 12:23 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

This sounds like local numbers are correct but not being properly uploaded to the state system. So does that mean that the locally posted PHD daily numbers are accurate? (They never have been 100%) Or is the PHD number that is posted daily actually an output from CalREDIE? (This would make little sense but seem perfectly bureaucratic.)

Ahlia Aug 08, 2020 01:27 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

If we can't trust the people whose job it is to accurately enter these numbers into "the system" ... and are now being told to go back to entering "manually" ...... then can we be expected to trust the Oh SO Important national voting system which is coming up in November ???

PitMix Aug 10, 2020 07:38 AM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

Really, to you a voting system that has been used for centuries is suspect, just like a recently developed software program put together in a rush? Remember Trump's voting investigation and how it didn't find anything? Not for lack of trying. If this is the kind of logic that people are using, then I fear for our Republic.

pstarSR Aug 10, 2020 12:58 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

do you trust your computer to send your email how you type it, do you trust your phone to call the number you tapped on in your address book. its easy to blame everyone, without knowing the details they had to sift through. if you dont trust computers, dont use them. like dont post on the internet either......... cant be picking and choosing.

a-1597098179 Aug 10, 2020 03:22 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

Vote by mail is showing terrible problems, almost every day another state reports a huge hang up - might want to broaden your news sources. Incorrect to claim there are no problems, though that is the party line some media sources are reporting. Can't let that disinformation stand.

beachsong Aug 09, 2020 02:27 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

We also try to follow the public health county site numbers. The 7 day average is better to understand because the lab result numbers are up and down, it jerks the numbers around after a weekend of no reporting, Under the new method labs were supposed to upload their data, results directly to the state. Local professionals realized that the death certificate count wasn't matching the state totals. As a result locally county health is manually entering the death certificates to the state. It seemed strange that the death count stayed at 32 for about 2 weeks. Then the new missing totals were posted. The state totals are only as good as the ability and efficiency of local counties to enter data.

PitMix Aug 10, 2020 07:40 AM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

It is very difficult for government agencies to get functional software programs from consultants. The agencies don't know enough about the process to write a good contract, and then the consultants don't deliver a good product. This can't come as a surprise to anyone.

mp805 Aug 10, 2020 11:58 AM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

Is this true? Anyone else read the news this morning? California Public Health Director Suddenly Quits After Massive Virus Data Error Discovered...Dr. Sonia Angell, California's director of the Department of Public Health, abruptly resigned on Sunday August 9th. Angell, who had been in the position for less than a year, reportedly resigned via an email sent to the California Health and Human Services Agency. Angell has, among others, been leading the state's battle against the novel coronavirus. More than 10,000 Californians have died of the illness, and most of the state remains on shutdown following a brief reopening period in early summer. "Our department has been front and center in what has become an all-of-government response of unprecedented proportions to COVID-19. In the final calculation, all of our work, in aggregate, makes the difference," Angell reportedly wrote in her resignation letter. "I want to thank Dr. Angell for her service to the state and her work to help steer our public health system during this global pandemic, while never losing sight of the importance of health equity," wrote Governor Newsom in a Sunday night statement. During her time in office, Angell held the dual role of director of the state Department of Public Health and California's public health officer. Those roles will now be divided between Sandra Shewdry, a vice president at the nonprofit California Health Care Foundation, and Dr. Erica Pan, who served as public health officer in Alameda County. Angell's departure comes as the state government reckons with a data glitch that failed to log nearly 300,000 infectious disease testing records, resulting in hindered decision-making at the highest levels of the California government. The secretary of California Health and Human Services, Mark Ghaly, recently apologized to state residents for the error. "Bottom line, our data system failed," said Ghaly. With more than half a million reported cases of the virus, California tops the nation for positive diagnoses. The data blunder, however, has impeded state authorities' ability to determine policies moving forward, specifically the decision on whether to reopen schools for in-person learning as the new school year is set to begin.

pstarSR Aug 10, 2020 12:56 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

not surprising, people are pointing the finger at whoever they can. and at some point workers are only human. and just say enough is enough, and quit. sadly we will see alot of this in the medical field and elsewhere with the amount of "ignoring" science" and "questioning numbers" we do.

sacjon Aug 10, 2020 12:21 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

Will this affect the numbers they rely on to determine if it's safe to go back to school? Right now, our primary focus should be on how to get the kids in front of a live teacher again. With only 1.25 hours of required zoom "teaching," this whole remote learning will be devastating.

pstarSR Aug 10, 2020 12:54 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

one, we need to take care of the pandemic before it destroys our society. two, the teachers are just as at risk as anyone else. three, "1.25hr" is NOT whats going to happen. I just had our 3rd grade teacher meeting friday, and we are 6+ hours a day. this remote learning will be less "devastating" than all our teachers getting covid. This remote learning will be the best option we have to do this safely. We need to go back to school safely, and stop saying Kids are some how "ok to go out in it". But other than that, the numbers are numbers, this isnt going to magically change one day to the next if we can go back to school. WE NEED TO SQUASH THIS VIRUS. not sit at the door waiting to be let into school. wear the mask, social distance, and do your part! then we can ALL get back to whatever normal will be.

letmego Aug 10, 2020 02:04 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

Yes - this does affect the numbers that determine whether our kids go back to school in person.

Also, I don't know what district you are in, but my 3rd grader is scheduled for almost 4 hours per day of "live" zoom, in four blocks of time. That's minimum, as there will likely be small group meetings and support outside of these blocks.

sacjon Aug 10, 2020 02:07 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

LETMEGO - We're in the Goleta Union district. The superintendent emailed the sample schedule with 2 zoom session - 45 minute morning and 30 minute afternoon. I asked my sister, a teacher in SB, and she said that is the minimum. I'm appalled that 1.25 hours is even the minimum. Elementary aged kids need far more than 1.25 hours of supervised learning with their teacher.

a-1597096260 Aug 10, 2020 02:51 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

We just learned that school aged children of GUSD teachers will receive onsite childcare provided by the district. So teachers can't be exposed to our kids and must teach remotely. But their own kids will be at school, in groups of up to 40 students per school, managed in person by a district employee (not credentialed), while they watch zoom meetings of their teacher at home or down the hall. Meanwhile, one local GUSD school had over 100 students drop out to be home schooled or switched to a Charter. That's over 30% of that school.

pstarSR Aug 10, 2020 04:19 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

I am in peabody district. you misunderstood my comment on the numbers. sitting and staring at number day to day is not going to open the schools. we need consistent low numbers before this is even an option. so my point was, stop staring at the numbers day to day. its not going to change the situation yet. "watched pot never boils"

a-1597097867 Aug 10, 2020 03:17 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

Counting numbers is as helpful as daily body counts were during the Veitnam war - a surrogate metric of no meaningful value. Analyzing co-morbidities would be helpful. Analyzing any number shared data points for each "positive" case would be helpful. But just numbers reports are virtually useless. Public health needs a re-set because it should be playing a hugely important role right now, and well beyond "covid" since most of what we call disease in this country in fact are negative life style choices. We should know by now why obese persons have more "covid" complications - what it the connection -what can we learn about obesity and the immune response. What is the connection between those who take multiple supplements to "boost their immune response" triggering the dreaded cytokine storm associated with the secondary stage of a covid infection. Did they prime their own immune system into overload before they were exposed to this particular corona virus. We should be understanding these things now since we have so much funded medical research going on already in both the private and public sectors. But all we are now getting in return are flawed number counts? Not good. CDC and NIH need to do more than offer photo ops and sound bites - we need at this point a lot more drilling down of these "numbers".

ChemicalSuperFreak Aug 10, 2020 04:42 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

@3:17 PM: Apples and oranges. The body counts in the Vietnam War were a worthless metric indeed, but based solely on the fact that US and South Vietnamese military commanders did not take and hold ground as in previous wars, and therefore did not have the traditional metric of territory seized available to report to their respective governments. Body counts also failed to be of significance because the Viet Cong numbers were immeasurable and therefore that 50% mark Westmoreland was always in pursuit of was forever illusive. There are no similar COVID analogies that support your dismissal of the presently reported numbers, as they do certainly highlight not only how quickly the virus is spreading, but how much of a strain it’s currently putting on our health care system. I do agree that co-morbid data would be of really great value and some details of those in the ICU and those who die could be reported without disclosing any of the patient’s personal information. As far a vitamin supplements helping to trigger the cytokine storm, I’d say that’s highly unlikely. Biological homeostasis is quite a powerful phenomenon. Furthermore, your immune system is based on more than just supplements, such as the immune associated vitamin D. The T-cell’s (an immune cell) vitamin D receptor is a protein, as is the enzyme (25-hydroxyvitamin D3 1-alpha-hydroxylase) that converts vitamin D into the hormone necessary for proper T-cell function. The cytokines produced by various other immune cells are also all small proteins. So you may as well as argue that having protein or essential amino acids in your diet can help to trigger such a cytokine store---which is of course nonsense. Some of the immune system over-reactions are probably better explained by noting that there are genetic difference between people, and, maybe more importantly, the epigenetic differences that can fluctuate over the course of a person’s life.

a-1597098034 Aug 10, 2020 03:20 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

2:51 -Why would the teachers need childcare for only 1.25 hours of work? Ugh this is atrocious! I'd LOVE to do home school for my kids, but my wife and I both work from home now so that is pretty much impossible. It's just flabbergasting that the districts had the entire summer break to come up with a plan and they apparently blew it!

a-1597098527 Aug 10, 2020 03:28 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

GUSD must teach from their classrooms unless they get an exemption to teach remotely. If they teach from the classroom they'll put their children into the on site day care. If they teach from home, they must also detail exactly how their kids are being supervised during school hours. In other words, under neither circumstance can a GUSD teacher manage his/her own kids while simultaneously zoom teaching. But why OK for teachers to send their kids to school when ours can't?

pstarSR Aug 10, 2020 04:30 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

please tell us all how you would do it better? yet you are at home, so you could home school your kids( it is NOT impossible ). Teachers are teaching YOUR children. something parents should also be more than willing to do themselves if need be. So far as parents and part of our own children's schooling, WE blew it. this thread proves it. People are more concerned about daycare then teaching, more concerned about their time then safety, and yes I even homeschooled my 3rd grade daughter over the summer to make sure she was up to speed, its WHAT PARENTS DO.

sacjon Aug 10, 2020 04:48 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

PSTARS - I work with my kids every single day (summer as well), so please spare us the lecture on what "parents should do." You obviously do not work from home with your spouse. My spouse and I both work from home, so homeschooling effectively IS impossible unless one of us either quits our job or works from 3pm to 11pm. Helping your kids with their homework and keeping them on track and interested is NOT the same as homeschooling. And yes, teachers are teaching OUR children - it's actually the job they've trained for years for. Most parents aren't trained teachers. We want the best for our kids, which is why we send the to school to be taught by TRAINED PROFESSIONALS. It sounds all fine and dandy for you and your summer "homeschool" but not all working parents are able to devote the amount of time and knowledge to effectively teach their own kids without any assistance by their districts. Luckily, I have been able to help my kids every time they need it, but you seem to forget - it's not just about you (or me), it's about our society at large and not everyone can do that. Try to think of others a little more before you hope up on that horse.

a-1597104201 Aug 10, 2020 05:03 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

I work in an essential industry and can't work from home. My wife works remotely. Spring was a disaster and basically a write off. We are expecting more of the same based on early feedback. Weekends will be for catching up. BTW, I consider us lucky...can't imagine how a single parent or those living in tiny apartments with multiple kids will manage.

a-1597104696 Aug 10, 2020 05:11 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

5:03 - Exactly! For working parents, this is just not a viable solution. Thank you for thinking of and considering the difficulties of others. People like PSTARS need to have a little more empathy if we're going to get through this together!

a-1597099301 Aug 10, 2020 03:41 PM
State Technical Error Suspects COVID-19 Cases Severely Undercounted

"Technical error" = "giant project management blunder." When the state switched to an automated database the project manager should have had the new reporting system run in parallel with the old system for a few weeks to validate that the two sets of results were consistent with each other. This is the most basic kind of project management.

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