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Webster County Public Health Issues Statement On Covid-19 Positive Case Rate

Webster County Public Health issued a statement Tuesday evening regarding the discrepancy in the 14 day covid-19 positive case rate. The discrepancy that was discovered had influence on the Fort Dodge Community School District’s decision Monday to move the start date of the academic year back to the original start date. The WCPH statement from Tuesday is below.

In Webster County Public Health’s (WCPH) review of the county’s positivity rate last week, we questioned the data that was available and why the 14-day positivity rate was high.

Per IDPH, the 14 day positivity is the total percent positivity over the previous 14 days. The formula for calculating the 14 day positivity average is the sum total of the Individual Positive Cases (14 day) divided by the sum total of Total Individuals Tested (14 day).

On Friday, WCPH contacted a local clinic and questioned if negative test results were also entered into the Iowa Disease Surveillance System (IDSS) database. It was reported that not all negative tests were entered. The local clinic submitted approximately 3,000 negative test results to IDPH that night, but later learned that the state’s reporting system had rejected the submission.

On Monday, WCPH contacted IDPH for guidance and to ask for a review of data. IDPH validated that not all test results had been entered into IDSS which in turn determines the county’s positivity. Upon review, it appeared that with the increased testing in the community the week prior, the percentage of positivity had gone down, and with the additional negatives that hadn’t been entered into the system, it is understood that the rate would have been impacted more in a downward trend.

Upon receipt of this information, WCPH met with school leadership in the county to discuss the situation and explain the review of data and determined collectively that WCPH would support the districts’ decision to start school on the original start dates. WCPH was scheduled to meet on Monday night with the Fort Dodge Community School District school board to provide data points on re-opening as the school was moving towards delaying the start date.  The purpose of attending the meeting was to provide information to the board regarding last week’s positivity rate and to discuss the timeline for opening school.

WCPH’s understanding is that IDPH is working directly with the clinic to remedy the reporting issue. WCPH expects that all testing data from all Webster County clinics to be reported in full and in a timely manner, to allow us to complete disease investigations and isolation/quarantine requirements.

WCPH will continue to review IDSS reports for Webster County which includes testing data. Our primary role is to review and analyze testing data entered into IDSS, work with local providers who have identified positive cases, provide isolation and quarantine orders, and to educate and support community members and businesses.

WCPH does not have the authority to override or “correct” testing numbers.

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