AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Public Health says the high COVID-19 case count we have been seeing recently is due to backlogged laboratory data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The increase in cases began last week, according to Austin Public Health.
APH received approximately 2,200 lab reports from DSHS on Thursday, August 13, and has since been processing and entering the reports. On Tuesday, August 18, APH was given lab reports for 350 new COVID-19 cases.
The new cases are the result of a backlog of electronic lab reports sent from the DSHS. The National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR) system at DSHS provides a method for hospital and clinical laboratories to electronically submit test results to fulfill their statutory obligation to report test results to the public health authority.
The majority of the results are duplicate records with case investigation already completed by APH. Additionally, many of the results are from more than a month ago, with some records dating back as far as April.
While backlogged lab results are just being received by APH, most cases should have been notified by their providers of their results.
APH will continue to process the backlogged lab results and will not know the true impact of the reporting error until processing is complete, according to a press release from the public health department.
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