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Iowa COVID-19 system glitch wrongly lowered confirmed case rate

August 17, 2020

A glitch in Iowa’s COVID-19 website artificially lowered the number of confirmed cases, according to an ABC News report

Four things to know:

1. The glitch led to the Iowa health department reporting fewer new infections and smaller COVID-19 daily positive test percentage than there actually were. Dana Jones, DNP, a nurse practitioner in Iowa City, identified the issue.

2. Due to the glitch, potentially thousands of COVID-19 positive tests were wrongly recorded as having been taken between March and June.

3. In some cases, people tested negative earlier in the year but then positive on a second test taken more recently; Iowa’s system recorded their new positive results as having happened on the date of their first test.

4. The Iowa health department acknowledged the glitch and is working to correct it.

“It’s just horrifying,” said Dr. Jones. “We have no idea what’s going on, really. I don’t know how much this changes the positivity rate but it is lower on the site than it truly is in reality.”

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