So far in Washington state, if people test negative for COVID-19 twice, they only count once in the state test data.
That’s because the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has tabulated and published negative test data based on the total number of people tested, not the total number of tests performed.
This methodology is about to change, DOH announced on Wednesday.
Under the new system, for example, if a person tests negative in April and then tests negative again in August, DOH will report it as two tests negative instead of one.
Health Minister John Wiesman said the new approach would provide a more comprehensive and current picture of COVID-19 infection in Washington.
“It also becomes important to compare Washington state with other states,” he said later in a statement.
Wiesman said the previous system the state used required health officials to continually review new test data to eliminate duplicate results, creating a challenge in accurately reporting test results. test negative and Washington positive rate.
DOH, the latest citation in a series of technical difficulties, did not publish daily negative test results from July 31 to August 9. On Tuesday, August 10, DOH did published “preliminary” test data showed a spike in the number of negative testers and a sudden increase in the statewide test rate to 6.7%.
Test data are not available on state COVID-19 dashboard. Wiesman said the agency will continue to report these figures for about a week, after it changes its new system for counting them.
He noted that the data issues did not affect the state’s response strategy or the overall trend of infections within the state.