Huge decrease in number of active COVID-19 cases due to improved data entry methods by DOH


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Department of Health’s daily coronavirus update from Sept. 25 compared to Sept. 26 showed drastic changes in the number of positive cases statewide and for those released from isolation.

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According to the DOH Disease Investigation Chief Dr. Emily Roberson, the difference in the numbers is a good thing. She said it’s a way for the community to see that things are changing in terms of the health department’s data completeness and quality.

The number of active COVID-19 cases that were released Saturday was significantly lower than Friday. Saturday logged 1,761 while Friday had a whopping 6,476 active cases, according to DOH.

The total number of people who were released from isolation also dramatically changed. That number jumped from 5,397 on Friday to 10,126 the following day.

“That’s the result of a lot of the data quality improvement efforts that we’ve been prioritizing as part of these larger efforts dealing with case investigation and contact tracing,” explained Roberson.

Roberson said that the system was backlogged and that information on forms wasn’t entered into the system. So, they streamlined their processes and beefed up their staff.

“We changed the processes for data entry and data validation. And we also have had specifically tasked teams right now that are going in and making sure to manually enter and validate existing data.”

She said they have a data entry team, a data validation team and two people who are focusing on chart reviews.

“From a data geek kind of perspective, this is very good. This is a very visible way of seeing that things are changing.”

Roberson said having up-to-date numbers helps policy makers make informed decisions based on accurate and timely information.

“This is a very good thing because this is better representing the actual situations on the ground.”

Roberson said they are also cleaning up data surrounding clusters to better assist with guidance and mitigation efforts.

Despite the drop in active cases statewide, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said that now is not the time to throw caution to the wind.

“Don’t get overconfident because those numbers went down once before. We can see them shoot up if people if are not responsible,” Lt. Gov. Green said.

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