DOH Temporarily Suspends Reporting of Certain Datasets to Combat Rising COVID Cases: ‘The System is Stressed’

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Due to the increase in COVID cases and increased demand for testing, the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) has announced changes to the investigation of cases and the data that they will report.

The DOH will temporarily suspend the processing and reporting of negative test results beginning Sunday, January 16, to expedite the processing and reporting of positive COVID-19 cases – which will allow for an accurate count of positive cases. However, people who test negative will still receive their results.

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According to the DOH, there have been a large number of positive and negative cases that surveillance systems have been unable to process and report. By stopping the reporting of specific data sets, the DOH data collection and reporting system will be able to accurately process thousands of positive tests recorded daily in laboratories.

“Because there’s such a volume of test data coming in, it kind of slows down the system as it’s processed, and so we’re going to temporarily pause on processing negative test results. “

Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char

Additionally, statewide and community-wide positivity rates will not be available because all tests — positive and negative — must be processed in order to determine them.

Although reporting of these datasets is temporarily halted, the DOH said it will look for other ways to “accurately report the number of positive causes and percent positivity, regardless of the volume of testing.”

“Now that we have disabled the flow of negative cases, we anticipate that more of these results will start to catch up, but it is difficult to predict exactly how many. I think it will probably be over the next four to five days that we will see this case, the positives that would have been there are filtering out and catching up.

Dr. Sarah Kemble, State Epidemiologist

According to the DOH, the way cases are reviewed will also have to change because the state’s 378 contract tracers are unable to keep up with the growing number of coronavirus cases — there have been about 48,000 cases over the past few years. first two weeks of 2022.

“It would be unrealistic to think that our 378 contact tracers could come into contact with all these people. So we are focused on providing general and context-specific guidance, and cluster investigations that will help protect vulnerable populations,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.

The DOH said these contract tracers will focus on COVID clusters in relation to schools and high-risk settings, like long-term care facilities.

The DOH held a press conference on Saturday, January 15 to discuss these developments.

Watch the full conference below:

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