State Epidemiologist Dr. Jared Taylor issued the following statement regarding a recent technical error that revealed COVID-19 cases dating from December 2020:
“As part of our effort to transition COVID-19 case reporting away from the PHIDDO system and onto a more stable platform, OSDH has been working to onboard labs to a new electronic laboratory reporting system. As with any transition to a new system, occasional technical errors are expected. Our internal team conducts routine quality assurance checks to ensure those errors are caught and corrected in a timely manner.
Earlier this week, one of our routine quality assurance checks revealed a technical error that occurred while onboarding a particular lab to the new electronic laboratory reporting system. Although the technical error is specific to only one lab, it resulted in the failure to upload approximately 1,300 positive COVID-19 cases onto our dashboard over a six-week period.
The majority of these identified cases occurred between the months of December and February. The exact breakdown is as follows:
• 271 cases from December
• 448 cases from January
• 296 cases from February
• 133 cases from March
OSDH leadership was appropriately notified and adjustments were immediately implemented to ensure the lab’s data is properly uploaded moving forward. To ensure all cases are reflected in Oklahoma’s total, on Wednesday, April 7, OSDH will add the approximately 1,300 previously unreported cases to the dashboard. As a result, cases for that day will appear artificially high.
Because the additional cases represent a relatively small number of cases during the affected time period, there has been no distortion to the public on the overall risk of transmission.
There will also be a jump in deaths reporting — about 1,800 additional deaths — around the same time. This is not related to the PHIDDO system, or a reflection of deaths at this time, but rather is related to a previous discrepancy in deaths reporting between OSDH and the CDC.
OSDH previously switched to reporting on deaths in alignment with the CDC while our team worked to resolve the discrepancy in deaths reported in the ADS (state) system. The ADS team is making progress in reviewing and reconciling the death count between the vital records and ADS assessment. As such, there will be a large increase of approximately 1,800 new deaths into the ADS investigated and confirmed category.
Our team is still working to reconcile that data, so additional increases in the ADS death count are expected over the coming weeks, but those will be fewer at each time.
We feel it is important to communicate this error for transparency and visibility purposes, and our team is working to ensure it doesn’t occur again.”