Report: Florida health department misreported high positive COVID-19 cases

Arkansas
Coronavirus Disease 2019 Graphic. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)

The Florida Department of Health misreported the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in its aggregation and publication of test results from laboratory, a local news report states.

According to FOX 35 [WOFL-TV] in Orlando, Fla., the state’s department of health said some laboratories have not been reporting negative test result data to the state.

Countless labs have reported a 100 percent positivity rate, which means every single person tested was positive. Other labs had very high positivity rates. FOX 35 News found that testing sites like one local Centra Care reported that 83 people were tested and all tested positive. Then, NCF Diagnostics in Alachua reported 88 percent of tests were positive.

How could that be? FOX 35 News investigated these astronomical numbers, contacting every local location mentioned in the report.

The report showed that Orlando Health had a 98 percent positivity rate. However, when FOX 35 News contacted the hospital, they confirmed errors in the report. Orlando Health’s positivity rate is only 9.4 percent, not 98 percent as in the report.

The report also showed that the Orlando Veteran’s Medical Center had a positivity rate of 76 percent. A spokesperson for the VA told FOX 35 News on Tuesday that this does not reflect their numbers and that the positivity rate for the center is actually 6 percent.

FOX 35 spoke to the state’s department of health on Tuesday and a spokesperson said the state is working with public and private labs to make sure all results are being reported.

“The Department immediately began working with those labs to ensure that all results were being reported in order to provide comprehensive and transparent data,” the spokesperson told FOX 35. “As the state continues to receive results from various labs, the Department will continue educating these labs on proper protocol for reporting COVID-19 test results.”

According to Worldometers, 291,629 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Florida with 4,409 deaths. There are currently 253,460 active cases, the most in the United States.