Health Dept Says Errors Have Been Corrected
Darren Doyle, story:
When tracking numbers of positive COVID-19 cases around the globe, it can get pretty confusing to say the least. The numbers in Edmonson County are no exception as varying totals from the Barren River District Health Department have been reported.
Our latest article on local COVID-19 numbers for Edmonson County was published last Friday, June 26th, and had a positive headline amid the pandemic: 15x more recoveries reported than new cases. All these numbers are supplied by the BRDHD and we monitor them with their daily press releases. They supply three different numbers for each county in their district: total number of known cases ever, total number of known recoveries, and total deaths determined from COVID-19. Those numbers are completely different this week, meaning they were obviously incorrect at some point.
In the last article, we published there were 79 total cases reported with 65 recovered and 11 deaths. If you add total recoveries and deaths, you get 76 cases, which left 3 current active known cases in the county. However, on Thursday, July 2nd in their daily press release, the BRDHD reported 84 total cases, 75 recovered, and 11 deaths, which did not add up. It's impossible for total recoveries and deaths (86) to be greater than the total number of reported cases (84).
We immediately asked for clarification on the incorrect figures and were told by the health department our question was being forwarded to their Epidemiologist.
That was certainly an acceptable answer and the next day was an observed holiday for Independence Day, so there was no press release; however, we followed up that day with the same question and we were told the Epidemiologist had not yet responded, but we would be contacted when a response was given. Yesterday's numbers were released and they are even more confusing than they were on Thursday. We did receive a brief response from BRDHD in an email that read "According to the press release yesterday the numbers have changed-she corrected some errors that were in the system."
Monday's numbers from the BRDHD for Edmonson County were listed as: 76 total cases (8 lower than last July 2nd) 58 recoveries (17 lower than July 2nd) and 11 deaths, which has not changed in several weeks. Again, it's important to note that "confirmed cases" does not mean current or active cases. It means the total number that has been confirmed since the beginning of the pandemic. They cannot get lower.
We also noticed numbers for Butler County were off in recoveries. On July 2nd, recoveries were reported at 133 but that number had changed to 126 yesterday.
Today, the BRDHD provided an answer to our question, which was emailed to us from Ashli McCarty, Marketing & Communications Coordinator.
"According to Layne Blackwell, regional epidemiologist, the isolated data errors were due to an algorithm in our data," her response stated. "The mistake has been corrected. As it relates to the data fluctuating a little day-to-day that will unfortunately happen in a small number of cases when we get updated addresses and counties for positive cases. For example, a Smiths Grove address might be in Edmonson or Warren County. After conducting the interview with the positive cases we are able to verify information and we correct it in the next day of reporting. Please let me know if you have any further questions."
We chose to hold off on a local COVID-19 update until we could get clarification on these numbers, as the BRDHD is the only source we have for these numbers, and that's why there was no update last Friday, July 3rd.
In related news, Genesis Health, Edmonson Center is still coronavirus-free, according to their latest update to us. This makes the third consecutive week with no active cases in the facility.