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What's causing the discrepancies in COVID-19 case numbers?

If you do the math on the number of reported cases in the state and city or county, they don't always add up.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Every day, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear presents the latest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer shares the number of cases in Metro Louisville. If you’ve been following along with these numbers at home, you may feel like they don’t always add up. Why is that?

It’s not a question of deception. There are several different groups, private and public, that are fighting this disease head-on. So, the reason for these inconsistencies comes from the number of sources that we have to pull from.

When Governor Beshear gives his daily briefing, he shares the total number of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky. The number he gives is the total that has been confirmed by the Department for Public Health.

Every day, the Department for Public Health gets reports from labs, health departments, hospitals and news reports. Sometimes, these reports overlap. 

Credit: Department for Public Health

For example, a lab may be contracted with a hospital, so the lab would notify the hospital and the Department for Public Health of a positive test. The job of the state is to then go through and verify each positive to make sure it’s only counted once.

While these officials are trying to be as accurate as possible, there is always the chance of human error. This is something Beshear has acknowledged and has been transparent about.

“For those that are upset our numbers change, or that we have to make corrections, I will tell you our Department of Public Health is doing their best, they’re working long hours. I’m absolutely proud of them and I will stand by them,” Beshear said.


Contact reporter Rob Harris atrjharris@whas11.com. Follow him onTwitter (@robharristv) andFacebook

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