Statement on COVID-19 data for August 27
MDH issued this statement today to provide additional context and detail regarding the COVID-19 case data reported online this morning.
August 28, 2020
The COVID-19 data posted today show 1,158 reported new cases and 21,144 reported test results. These higher counts are partially due to a backlog of data belatedly reported by a Minnesota provider and lab, Valley Medical, which has had an inconsistent record of reporting results to the state despite the requirements of the communicable disease reporting rule.
After MDH followed up with Valley Medical, the company provided almost 19,000 test results to MDH as required. We have started to process the data, and today’s new cases include a batch of 265 positive cases from that provider. These cases from Valley Medical have specimen dates from the past two weeks. Today’s data set also includes 4,658 tests from Valley Medical. The remaining 14,000 test results still need to be processed by our team and will be included in case counts and testing numbers into early next week.
While we appreciate that Valley Medical provided the information upon follow-up, this episode shows the importance of laboratories and providers understanding and consistently complying with disease reporting requirements that are not new. These requirements have been in place for many diseases like measles and mumps for years, and have been in place for COVID-19 for months. This belated reporting will affect our daily reports for the next few days. More concerning, delayed reporting also means that 265 people who tested positive for COVID-19 were not contacted by health officials in a timely manner. This creates multiple problems – not only does it mean the person tested is unaware of their infection and the need to self-isolate to protect family, friends and close contacts, but it also delays our case investigation work and makes it harder to slow the spread of this disease. We encourage all providers and laboratories across the state to be diligent and timely in their reporting.