Deb Strahler, WCCHD director of marketing and community engagement, said the issue was identified while officials were working to determine why hospitalization trends were not following the same downward trajectory as incidence rates and as ICU and ventilator use.
In this, the data team identified an error in the formula used to calculate hospitalizations, she said. Essentially, this error was incorrectly adding hospitalizations, which led to a plateau in that number. Once this error was identified, the data team worked swiftly to get it corrected, she added.
The error was corrected Sept. 16, according to the WCCHD dashboard.
“The WCCHD dashboard is updated with data feeds from a variety of sources. Our data team reviews and analyzes those feeds, in order to ensure that there is an accurate picture of COVID-19 activity being reported,” Strahler said.
Strahler said the WCCHD epidemiology and data teams work together to ensure information being collected, analyzed and reported is accurate. Quality assurance checks, in which labs and cases are reviewed for completeness as they come in, are run routinely, she said.
However, it is estimated that the hospitalization numbers had been incorrect since late July.
“WCCHD has crosschecked the hospitalization data provided from [Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council] with our data provided from hospitals directly to ensure accuracy. Moving forward, we will incorporate this check into our QA process,” Strahler said. “We will continue to improve our data by reviewing our data sources and following best practices for analysis and reporting.”
Here is the updated hospitalization breakdown for ICU and non-ICU patients over time.