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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Failure to report COVID-19 results blamed on issue with outside lab

On the third straight day of more than 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 being reported across the country, the Florida Department of Health failed to update its Coronavirus website because of an issue with a lab that provides test results.

The website, which usually can be accessed at www.floridahealth.gov, continued to report day-old numbers well into late Saturday afternoon. The issue was blamed on the department receiving about 400,000 previously reported COVID-19 results from Helix Laboratory – a private lab that is not affiliated with the state of Florida.

“The massive size of the data file and the need to de-duplicate hundreds of thousands of results prevented the Department of Health’s automatic reporting system from processing yesterday’s results as it normally does,” a late afternoon press release from the Florida Department of Health said. “State epidemiologists are currently working to reconcile the data, which will take a day to finish.”

The release pointed out that the reporting issue isn’t related to notifying people of their results, as that is handled by the lab or entity that offered the test.

The failure to update the webpage that many Floridians and their families count on for daily COVID-19 updates comes as the state is in the midst of an uptick in positive results. On Friday, Florida reported 728,921 cases – an increase of 2,908 in a 24-hour period. The day before, the state reported 3,306 new positive results, which was the largest single-day increase since Sept. 19.

Locally speaking, on Friday Marion County reported 10,102 cases, with 7,778 of those being in Ocala. Summerfield reported 401 cases, while Belleview had 364, Dunnellon had 374 and Citra had 192.