COVID-19 in B.C.: Data correction issued due to case count errors from Fraser Health

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      New case counts from Fraser Health over the past week have been revealed to have had data errors in them.

      At the B.C. COVID-19 briefing on November 25, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that there was a technical error in data from Fraser Health that affected new case counts—for numbers within Fraser Health, which in turn affected as the provincial totals—from November 17 to 24.

      She said that the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) will update the data on its website with corrections.

      When she was asked about these errors, she explained that they had increased their lab capacity by bringing in other labs. However, some of these labs have different IT systems, leading to differences in numbers.

      She said the anomaly was detected on November 24.

      Henry confirmed that those who tested positive were notified but there was a gap when the numbers came from a lab into the health authority.

      She pointed out that daily case counts can reflect several elements occurring in the province, such as outbreaks at hospitals or industrial sites involving numerous people being tested. She added that they tend to look at the seven-day rolling average as trends over time, rather than at individual days.

      That said, she did point out that peak new case numbers took place last week, rather than on November 24 when 941 new cases had been initially reported as a new record. The correct record was 835 new cases on November 21, which today’s new case count of 887 new cases has since exceeded.

      However, when the Georgia Straight compared the numbers that Henry read aloud during the November 25 briefing (which included numbers starting from November 16) and what was sent in link within a news release to a chart released after the briefing, there were differences between the two.

      When the Georgia Straight contact the B.C. Ministry of Health for clarification about which numbers were correct, the communications department for the ministry confirmed the numbers in the chart are correct. 

      The corrected numbers are also available in the downloadable file in the lefthand column.

      “It doesn’t change the fact that we are in a very critical time and we are seeing far too many people being infected with this virus, and that’s now being reflected in our hospitalizations and people in ICU [intensive care units],” Henry had said of the data errors.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.