Technical error meant Fraser Health underreported COVID-19 cases last week

Nov 26 2020, 12:27 am

BC health officials discovered an IT error Wednesday that had caused Fraser Health’s daily COVID-19 case numbers to be misreported for nine days this month.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave an update on the correct numbers between November 16 to 24 at her in-person briefing, adding that technical problems are an unfortunate but often unavoidable aspect of integrating several data systems.

“It’s something that happens, but obviously we don’t want it to,” she said. “It doesn’t change the fact that we’re in a critical time right now and we’re seeing far too many people infected with this virus.”

Everyone in Fraser Health who got tested received the correct result, but there was a problem transferring those results to the province for data reporting. On some days last week Fraser Health underreported, and on others it overreported.

Looking at all nine days, BC’s largest health authority left out 255 cases. Here were the adjustments Dr. Henry made:

  • November 16: 461 cases reported, actually 324
  • November 17: 484 cases reported, actually 343
  • November 18: 481 cases reported, actually 537
  • November 19: 308 cases reported, actually 417
  • November 20: 294 cases reported, actually 610
  • November 21: 488 cases reported, actually 634
  • November 22: 469 cases reported, actually 525
  • November 23: 347 cases reported, actually 432
  • November 24: 678 cases reported, actually 443

The changes mean BC’s record-shattering daily case number on November 24 was inaccurate. Instead of seeing 941 new cases, BC actually saw 706.

The highest-ever daily case count is now from November 21, when BC saw 859 new infections.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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