Data from the Washington state Department of Health (DOH) on hospitalizations for COVID-19 had, until Friday, left off 88 patients.
The missed data was mostly for hospitalizations this week, but some were from as far back as March 29.
The error, which DOH revealed Friday afternoon, had to do with a data feed outside of its systems being interrupted on June 20 and an internal database that didn’t operate on Tuesday and Wednesday night, the agency said in a news release.
The issue didn’t allow the hospital information to go into DOH’s Washington Disease Reporting System, where the COVID-19 hospitalizations are updated.
Once the issues were cleared up, DOH identified the 88 cases. The counties most affected were: King County, with 21; Yakima County, 16; Pierce County, nine; Benton County, eight; Spokane County, six; Franklin County, six; and Snohomish County, five.
Hospitalization data is an important tool for understanding the severity of active cases and the impact on the health care system.
This is the latest in a string of problems DOH has had in handling data related to the coronavirus known officially as SARS-CoV-2.
On June 17, DOH revealed it had been reporting incorrect testing numbers for eight weeks by overcounting the number of people who had tested negative.
The state COVID-19 dashboard was lumping negative antibody tests in with negative molecular tests. The error resulted in the dashboard showing 13% more people testing negative since April 21, skewing the state’s overall positive test rate and making it appear as though a smaller proportion of people had the virus.
At the end of March, DOH’s disease reporting system was flooded with case data, which temporarily stopped the state from publicly reporting the number of new COVID-19 cases.