New Ohio COVID-19 cases inflated as backlog of positive test results clears

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 1:46 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) - For the next several days, the Ohio Department of Health will be reporting an artificially high COVID-19 case count caused by a processing lag due to the unprecedented number of cases reported, health officials announce Friday.

A processing enhancement was implemented late Thursday to expand the state’s capacity to process a higher volume of lab results, enabling the backlog to begin to clear and to better keep up with daily processing of positive test results.

Testing data from laboratories across the state is automatically submitted to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) through an electronic lab reporting system that feeds into the Ohio Disease Reporting System (ODRS).

Health officials say as COVID-19 cases have reached an all-time high, the system reached its processing capacity, resulting in a multiple-day backlog of tens of thousands of results.

In addition, there are some positive test results that involve a further manual review by state epidemiologists.

As these results are processed, positive cases will be attributed to their proper illness onset date on the COVID-19 overview dashboard, which better depicts the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio. The most helpful indicators of COVID-19 spread in Ohio continue to be COVID-19 hospitalizations, test positivity, case rates per 100,000 residents, and cases by illness onset date.

Throughout the pandemic, the Ohio Department has discovered the impacts of high user demand on antiquated technical systems. ODH continues to take steps to enhance real-time data analysis.

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