COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) — In the coming days, the Ohio Department of Health will report an artificially high number of COVID-19 cases caused by a delay in processing due to the unprecedented number of reported cases, health officials announced Friday.
A processing upgrade was implemented late Thursday to expand the state’s capacity to process a wider range of lab results, helping to clear the backlog and better track daily processing of positive test results.
Test data from labs across the state is automatically submitted to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) through an electronic lab reporting system fed into the Ohio Disease Reporting System (ODRS).
Health officials say that as COVID-19 cases hit an all-time high, the system has reached its throughput, resulting in a multi-day backlog of tens of thousands of results.
In addition, there are some positive test results that require further manual review by state epidemiologists.
As these results are processed, positive cases are attributed to their correct disease onset date on the COVID-19 overview dashboard, which better reflects the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio. The most useful indicators of the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio are still COVID-19 hospital admissions, test positivity, case rates per 100,000 inhabitants, and cases by disease onset.
During the pandemic, the Ohio Department has uncovered the consequences of high user demand for outdated technical systems. ODH continues to take steps to improve real-time data analysis.
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