Backlogged test results could skew Alabama’s COVID-19 numbers


Huntsville City leaders deliver the weekly update for COVID-19 in the North Alabama area.

(WKRG) – The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) said Wednesday it will soon be receiving results from a large laboratory that had not reported its COVID-19 results to the department.

Because of this delayed reporting, upcoming COVID-19 numbers reported by ADPH will be skewed. More cases will be reported in the coming days, but it does not mean that all of those cases happened recently.

“Over the next two cycles of data entry, a large number of cases may be added to the Data and Surveillance Dashboard. Some of these cases will be from previous months,” the ADPH stated in a press release.

For information related to when a case occurred versus when the case was reported, click here.

ADPH says COVID-19 is a notifiable disease, and laboratories are mandatory reporters, which means ADPH does not have control over when results are reported. Other factors affect COVID-19 data being reported to ADPH.

“ADPH receives reports of COVID-19 through its Report Card as well as the Alabama NEDSS Base System (ALNBS). When some entities enter the facility name by free text, the system may not pick up the name if there are hyphens or other characters that do not match. When the system does not recognize the name to match to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), the report is rejected. CLIA is a required field for the laboratory report to be added to the system and counted as a case. ADPH Information Technology is reprocessing some data to ensure accuracy of reporting of cases. This reprocessing could result in additional cases added to the case count.”


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