San Antonio Mayor Says State Has Undercounted Positive COVID-19 Cases, Overcounted Deaths | Texas Public Radio

San Antonio Mayor Says State Has Undercounted Positive COVID-19 Cases, Overcounted Deaths

14 hours ago

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San Antonio

Mayor Ron Nirenberg prefaced Monday night’s briefing by saying Mondays typically have a lower number of cases. He added that Monday’s reports reflect a lag in results on Sundays. Metro Health is also converting to Texas Health Trace Data, an online data management hosted by the state of Texas. The conversion will ease and make more efficient the data management process, Nirenberg said.

In this switch, Metro Health is reviewing cases and deaths and confirming their past reports. Over the weekend, Metro Health found several duplicate cases (people tested multiple times at several clinics, names were misspelled and categorized twice, etc.) and sorted them out.

There were 56 new cases reported on Monday, bringing the total to 41,138. Nirenberg said the city’s seven-day rolling average is more accurate: 760 cases. The city also reported two new deaths on Monday, bringing the total to 370.

 

The city’s death reports are different from the number the state reports. Nirenberg explained:

“There will always be a differential between the COVID-19 deaths reported by Metro Health and the state of Texas, primarily due to timing of reporting. The state receives the data before Metro Health does, and Metro Health investigates to confirm actual COVID-19 diagnosis prior to reporting it in our total,” he said.

There are still approximately 175 deaths under investigation. Two-thirds of those are in the process of being confirmed and reported by Metro Health. The City of San Antonio disagrees with the categorization of the remaining third, either because the deceased patient did not have a COVID positive case or because the patient was erroneously assigned to Bexar County.

“Reporting deaths within days of the event can lead to some of these discrepancies in data, but please know that we are holding our standards very high to make sure there is accuracy as we report the numbers, and we will continue to do that, but there will be some slight adjustments as we move along,” Nirenberg said.

Nirenberg said the corrections Metro Health has made, both in cases and in deaths, make up only 1% of the total data. He said there has been an undercount in positive cases and overcount of deaths at the state level.

"What I would say and what I would want our residents to be assured by is that the standard of accuracy and precision that Metro Health has held itself to is extroadinary," Nirenberg said. "The overall trends remain the same, which is that we have an extreme number of cases in this community, it's spreading, and a lot of people have died."

As for the city’s progress and warning indicators, Nirenberg said they are trending positively but are still not where they need to be. The city has not seen a sustained decline in cases, the positivity rate is at 15% (as opposed to the target 5%), and local hospitals are still under severe stress. The doubling rate has improved, from 18 days to 21, but the city’s goal is 30 days.

There are 886 patients in local hospitals (+7), with 350 in intensive care (-7) and 238 on ventilators (-8). There are 16% of staffed beds and 51% of ventilators available. In comparison, the city first hit 100 hospitalizations on June 9. At that time, there were 43 people in intensive care and 24 on ventilators.

Pediatric cases have risen from 62 to 81 in the past week. Of those cases, 20% are still ill.

“They are a vulnerable population also. So I don’t understand why people can’t wait until September the 7th to open schools. I don’t understand why there’s a big rush right when we’re in the middle of trying to solve this thing,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.

 

Texas

As of Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 442,000 confirmed cases across the state — with Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Bexar counties consistently among those reporting the highest numbers of cases.

More than 7,000 people have died in Texas.

There are more than 8,800 patients with COVID-19 in Texas hospitals.

National and International

Find the latest national and international updates on COVID-19 from NPR's live blog

Zoom in and scroll to find data on areas across the globe. Find more information at Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource center.

The CDC has provided COVID-19 guidelines in English and Spanish

Find the latest information from Metro Health here