Lab Error Leads To Underreporting Of OH COVID-19 Numbers

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OHIO — A lab error led to inaccurate COVID-19 reporting Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Health.

The department reported an "artificially low, incomplete" COVID-19 case count after a processing error. This is the second time in less than a month that a technology or processing mishap impacted the state's COVID-19 reporting.

According to officials, five incorrectly formatted files from a long-term care facility were received on Monday. Each file contained both valid lab results and invalid rows of data, ODH said in a statement.

"The volume of invalid data rows caused a backlog in ODH’s ELR processing systems; this then delayed the processing of confirmed COVID-19 cases from other facilities," the department said in a release. No lab results have been processed since Jan. 25 at 5 p.m.

The state's COVID-19 case counts will continue to be underreported until the backlog is resolved.

The Ohio Department of Health has repeatedly grappled with "antiquated technical systems" throughout the pandemic. The department continues to try and "enhance its real time data analysis," officials said.

This article originally appeared on the Cleveland Patch

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