An official is confirming the state’s coronavirus website has been reporting some of the recent positive Covid-19 tests as occurring weeks or even months earlier, making the number of reported positive daily tests appear lower.
For example, a positive test performed last week may be applied to test results from March if the person who tested positive had previously tested negative in March.
Iowa City nurse practitioner Dana Jones was tracking the data and noticed some major discrepancies in daily case counts. She reached out to the Iowa Department of Public Health and an official said in an email that the state’s system was backdating new cases and they were working on a fix. Jones estimates thousands of cases could be affected, but only the state knows for sure.
“I would like for them to make some sort of statement to the public saying why this happened, what they’ve done to fix it, how it changed the data that we’ve used, and what the implications are,” Jones said during an interview with Iowa Public Radio. “And I’d like for them to speak to that because I think they owe that to the public.”
Iowa schools are to use the state’s data to determine when the number of Covid cases in a district rises to a level that all students should be sent home and classes shift online.
“I think the fact that the data is wrong, and that’s what we’ve been driving our decisions on, is concerning,” she said.
A spokesperson for the public health department hasn’t commented on the discrepancy in Covid case data on the state website.
(By Iowa Public Radio’s Katarina Sostaric)