Health Secretary Says He Will Debug COVID-19 Numbers

The Secretary of Health, Lorenzo González Feliciano reported on Friday night that they will review the COVID-19 statistics, as a consequence of the report published by the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI).

“The Health Department keeps updating and validating the data we receive daily on all reported cases. Following a statistical analysis, it is important to clarify that in the daily report of positive cases, numbers belonging to the total number of tests reported are recorded, both molecular and serological; which could include duplicate numbers in the total number of cases.

We keep evaluating the data received and debugging it, so we will make the pertinent statistical clarifications so that there is no doubt about how the behavior of COVID-19 is affecting our population, in order to serve as tools for taking health and public policy decisions, as well as the protection measures taken by citizens. Both the staff of the Biosafety Department and the Department of Epidemiology are working hard to clarify the numbers and, responsibly, to be updated.

Health math is wrong

The number of positive COVID-19 cases that have been reported has a double or even triple count problem. The Health Department confirmed that it did not have protocols to manage and report the results of rapid tests.

Our goal is clarity in the information presented to the population. This pandemic forces all countries to evaluate their metrics and surveillance systems for information management. Puerto Rico is not the exception. Let there be no doubt that the pertinent corrections are being made and the numbers will be clarified, while protocols are established to standardize the metrics we receive at the Health Department, “said the secretary in written statements.

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In the report written by Luis Valentín and Carla Minet, González Feliciano acknowledged that the agency he heads “has been mixing the results of molecular tests, which are confirmatory that the person has the virus, with the results of rapid or serological tests , whose result according to the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is inconclusive. The implication of this is that there has been a double count, perhaps even triple, of the results in government reports on COVID-19. For example, a person who had a rapid test that was positive and then had a molecular test confirming that positive is counted in the numbers reported by the Government as two separate cases, when in reality it is one.

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