Lag in re­port­ing

Va. health of­fi­cials say most of those tests were neg­a­tive

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE - BY MEL LEONOR mleonor@timesdis­patch.com (804) 649-6254 Twit­ter: @MelLeonor_

Vir­ginia De­part­ment of Health has a back­log of 13,000 test re­sults.

The Vir­ginia De­part­ment of Health says it has a run­ning back­log of 13,000 COVID-19 test re­sults that have not been re­ported to the pub­lic.

The agency also an­nounced late Mon­day that it will add a dif­fer­ent set of 13,000 back­logged tests to the pub­lic dash­board that in­cludes Vir­ginia’s COVID-19 data, which could ap­pear to skew the data.

In a state­ment, VDH said a Rich­mond-area lab­o­ra­tory had been pro­vid­ing re­sults via fax, which the agency had to man­u­ally log.

“VDH staff had pri­or­i­tized pos­i­tive test re­sults, which means the re­main­ing back­log largely in­cludes neg­a­tive tests. The lab is now sub­mit­ting test re­sults elec­tron­i­cally,” the state­ment read.

The agency did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for the name of the lab­o­ra­tory.

VDH said the 13,000 faxed re­sults rep­re­sent just half of the agency’s to­tal test­ing back­log.

Mean­while, the de­part­ment re­ported Tues­day that the statewide to­tal for COVID-19 cases is 51,738 — an in­crease of 487 from the 51,251 re­ported Mon­day.

As the over­all num­ber of pos­i­tive COVID-19 test re­sults in Vir­ginia grows, data from the VDH coro­n­avirus dash­board shows the per­cent­age of pos­i­tive re­sults from test­ing is down. The seven-day av­er­age for per­cent of pos­i­tive test re­sults was at 8.9% as of Satur­day, which is the most re­cent fig­ure pro­vided by the

VDH on Tues­day. That’s down from a peak of 22.2% on April 19.

The 51,738 cases re­ported Tues­day in­clude 49,362 con­firmed cases and 2,376 prob­a­ble cases. Also, there are 1,496 COVID-19 deaths in Vir­ginia — 1,391 con­firmed and 105 prob­a­ble. There were 1,477 deaths re­ported Mon­day.

The VDH de­fines prob­a­ble COVID-19 cases as peo­ple who are symp­to­matic with a known ex­po­sure to COVID-19, but whose cases have not been con­firmed with a pos­i­tive test.

VDH data shows most cases (80%) are oc­cur­ring in adults be­tween the ages of 20 and 69.

The ma­jor­ity of deaths (76.4%) are among Vir­gini­ans over the age of 70.

In the Rich­mond area, there are 6,106 cases: 2,146 in Hen­rico County, 1,942 in Ch­ester­field County, 1,667 in Rich­mond and 351 in Hanover County.

Also, the re­gion has

222 deaths at­trib­uted to the virus: 134 in Hen­rico, 37 in Ch­ester­field, 27 in Rich­mond and 24 in Hanover.

Fair­fax County, the state’s most pop­u­lous lo­cal­ity with more than 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple, has the most cases with 12,695 and 416 deaths.

VDH said there are 401 out­breaks in the state,

227 in long-term care fa­cil­i­ties. These fa­cil­i­ties also ac­count for 845 of the state’s deaths at­trib­uted to the virus.

State health of­fi­cials have said there’s a lag in the re­port­ing of statewide num­bers on the VDH web­site.

Fig­ures on the web­site might not in­clude cases or deaths re­ported by lo­cal­i­ties or lo­cal health dis­tricts.

MARK GORMUS/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

In late April, a health care worker con­ducted a COVID-19 test at South­wood Apart­ments in Rich­mond.

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