Q&A – How Are Floridians Who Test Positive For COVID Reported?

Today’s entry: We all have COVID here but like a mild flu. My question is, I had a positive COVID test at CVS, one in the hospital and another today at CVS. The first 2 were positive and for the sake of argument, let's say that the recent CVS test is positive also. Does this count as one positive result or three? Are they de-duplicating on individuals?

Bottom Line: Sorry to hear you and your family are starting the new year with the 'rona'. You’re in good company though as we’re now averaging the most daily cases yet in Florida. It’s a reminder that the virus didn’t start in 2020 and didn’t end with it either.

Regarding the potential for duplicate reporting based on your example. At the onset of the pandemic, testing in Florida was an issue. In fact, Governor DeSantis flagged this concern in late April stating that it was possible and even likely that a person who’d tested positive multiple times would be counted as multiple cases. He directed the state to create procedures that would prevent duplicate reporting. In theory, it happened and hasn’t occurred since the onset of Florida’s contact tracing program.

According to the Florida Department of Health, CDC standards for testing and contact tracing are used statewide. Once someone tests positive for COVID-19, a person is assigned a number by the Florida Department of Health, that's designed to protect one’s identity. Each new number generated by the FDOH is reported as a new COVID case that number is used by contract tracers as an active case until a person has tested negative for COVID-19.

This process is why only the Florida Department of Health can accurately report new and active cases in the state. Other dashboards using non-FDOH info, have the potential to over-report cases by using positive test results, which can include duplicates. So again, a new case is only reported once a new case number is generated. The wild card in this conversation could become those who contract COVID-19 for a second time. According to the CDC, antibodies have only proven to be present for up to seven months. With the virus active in Florida for at least ten already, and the potential for mutated strains to cause new infections, it’s possible a person could contract the virus a second time. This would result in a new case number and is the example in which one person could be reported multiple times by the state.

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Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

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