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State fails to release coronavirus deaths, cases because of data problems

Agency says it needs to reconcile information after massive dumping of test results from non-affiliated lab
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Posted at 4:44 PM, Oct 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-11 09:08:35-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Florida Health Department for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak didn't release any coronavirus data Saturday, including deaths, cases, testing and hospitalizations, because the agency said it needs to reconcile information after a massive dumping of test results into the system from a private lab not affiliated with the state.

In a news release, the agency said reporting will resume Sunday.

"Last night, the Department of Health received approximately 400,000 previously-reported COVID-19 test results from Helix Laboratory – a private lab that is not affiliated with the state of Florida," the release said. "The massive size of the data file and the need to de-duplicate hundreds of thousands of results prevented the Department of Health's automatic reporting system from processing yesterday's results as it normally does."

The agency said it will take one day for state epidemiologists to reconcile the data.

But it noted, "this reporting issue is not related to notifying individuals of their results. Notification is performed by the lab or entity that offered the test."

On Sept. 1, the state severed all ties with Quest Diagnostics after 75,000 tests, including nearly 4,000 cases, were dumped into the system, mostly in mid-June to late July. On Aug. 12, the state announced a backlog of tests from Niznik Lab Corp. in Miami Gardens. It skewed the positivity rate, mainly in Miami-Dade County.

On Friday, Florida's additional coronavirus deaths decreased by 46 to 118 in one day as cases dropped by nearly 400 to 2,908 and the state's first-time daily positivity rate diminished to 4.13 percent.

Florida's first-time daily infection rate of all tested decreased from 4.55 percent, a low of 3.74 five days ago and a high of 5.25 three days ago. Palm Beach County's rate decreased from 3.02 the day before and 2.14 on Sept. 27 that was among the lowest in several months. The two-week high was 4.17 on Sept. 30.

The state's total daily positivity rate for all tests dropped to 5.13 percent on 75,582 tests reported by labs to the state Thursday from 5.53 on 77,487 the day before. The highest percentage was 6.82 three days ago. Only 20,987 tests were reported Sept. 27 and the record test total was 142,964 July 11. Palm Beach County had only 130 positive tests.

Since the first two deaths were announced on March 6, which is 217 days, the death toll has reached 15,186, with an average of 70 per day, with the total including nonresidents 15,372, which remained at 186.

Friday's state report noted there were 122 deaths received by the department, including 9 in Palm Beach County, but 4 cases were later determined to be related to COVID-19 for a net increase of 118.

State and county increases represent fatalities received by the state Friday and not the number of deaths that occurred then. The day someone dies and when it is received by the state can lag for several days. The most deaths the past month: 59 each on Sept. 10 and 11.

Palm Beach County's death toll increased by 9 to 1,416, third highest in the state behind Miami-Dade and Broward, after an increase of 8 Thursday. On the Treasure Coast, St. Lucie rose by 1 to 298, Martin increased by 1 to 145, Indian River remained at 119. Okeechobee climbed by 2 to 32 deaths with its first two fatalities on July 25.

Broward increased by 12 and Miami-Dade by 22.

With a net increase of 47 deaths in South Florida of the 118 state total, which is 39.8 percent, there are 6,883, which is 45.3 percent of the state figure though the population only comprises 30 percent.

Nation

Florida is in fifth place in the United States in fatalities. On June 16, Florida was in 11th place in the nation.

Texas is in second place with the addition of a U.S.-high 94 deaths Saturday after a state-record 324 on Aug. 11, for a total of 16,526. California reported 72 and is in third place with 16,500 which is 26 behind Texas. New Jersey, which had been second throughout the pandemic, is in fourth place with 16,171, adding 7 deaths.

Palm Beach County's death count is higher than 20 states, including Kentucky's 1,249 with 7 reported Saturday.

California has the most cases in the U.S. at 842,776 with the addition of a U.S.-high 4,170. Texas had 4,046 and is second overall with 790,060. Florida is third with 728,921. New York, which was the leader during much of the pandemic, is in fourth at 473,143, with an additional 1,447.

Florida's total number of people tested is 5,525,411, which is 25.7 percent of the state's population behind No. 1 California, No. 2 New York, No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Illinois.

Since the first death was reported six months ago on Feb. 29, the national toll has risen to 214,337, a gain of 585 Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins. Worldometers reported an increase of 635 to 219,282.

Cases reached 7,711,079 with an increase of 47,786 according to Hopkins. They have exceeded 70,000 seven times, including a record 78,446 on July 24 and the last time was July 31.

Last Saturday in the U.S., there were 690 more deaths and 50,044 cases.

The one week U.S. death increase was 4,953 at 2.4 percent.

The U.S. mortality rate is 2.8 percent.

New York has the most deaths in the nation at 33,293, with Johns Hopkins reporting as an increase of 3 reported after a high of 799 in April. Hopkins lists confirmed and probable deaths, with the latter not a positive case.

Among other states in the top 10 for deaths: No. 6 Massachusetts no data, No. 7 Illinois 30, No. 8 Pennsylvania 33, No. 9 Georgia and No. 10 Michigan no data.

Also, No. 11 Arizona reported 13 deaths, as well as an additional 894 cases. No. 24 Washington, the original epicenter in the United States, reported none Saturday.

Worldwide

The death toll passed 1,077,000 and cases passed 37.4 million.

The U.S. represented 12.5 percent of 5,075 additional deaths Saturday and 20.4 percent of the world total though its population is only 4.3 percent of the global total.

The one week world death increase was 37,121 at 3.6 percent.

Last Saturday's death increase was 4,863.

Cases increased by 355,878 one day after a record 358,354, according to Worldometers.info.

The world mortality rate is 2.9 percent.

Brazil, which is second behind the United States for deaths, reported 544 deaths to rise to 150,236. Brazil's record is 1,554 on July 29. The nation added 34,650 cases at 5,091,840 in third place.

India reported 73,272 cases compared with a world-record 97,894 to rise to 6,979,423, which is second in world behind U.S. Also, India recorded a world-high 926 deaths, behind a national-record 1,299, to rise to 107,416 and in third place.

Mexico announced 135 more deaths late Saturday compared with a high of 1,092 on June 4 for a total of 83,642 in fourth place.

Four European nations are in the top 10 as cases are surging on the continent. The United Kingdom reported 81 additional deaths for 42,760 in fifth place with the record daily high 1,172, as well as 15,166 cases two days after a record 17,540. No. 6 Italy, which at one time was the world's epicenter and reached 919 in one day, reported 29 deaths and 5,724 cases, the most since 5,973 on March 28. No. 8 Spain reported 241 deaths and 5,986 cases Friday. No. 9 France is 292 behind Spain, announcing 54 deaths, as well as a record 26,896 cases, one day after the previous mark of 20,339.

No. 7 Peru announced 65 deaths and is 294 ahead of Spain. No. 10 Iran reported 195 deaths, below the record 239 two days earlier.

Russia is in fourth place in the world in cases with 1,285,084, including an additional record 12,846, surpassing the mark the day before of 12,126. The nation gained 197 deaths and in 13th.

No. 21 Canada reported 23 deaths for a total of 9,608 and 2,062 cases behind the record of 2,804 five days earlier. Between May 26 and Aug. 30 cases were never more than 1,000.

Sweden, which has been doing "herd immunity" with no lockdown, reported no data Saturday and is at 5,894. Neighboring Norway reported no deaths for the eighth day in a row to remain at 275, as well as 64 more cases.

No. 32 China, the original epicenter of the world, hasn’t reported a death since April 26, added 21 cases Sunday.