Glitch delays COVID testing results, causes daily spike

· 3 min read

Glitch delays COVID testing results, causes daily spike

Medical workers remove a swab for a COVID-19 screening at the TestNebraska site at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The university providing daily updates on numbers of tests and positive cases in its COVID-19 dashboard.
Craig Chandler | University Communication

A technical glitch that prevented coronavirus test results from being reported has caused a single-day spike in COVID-19 data at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Gov. Pete Ricketts reported Sept. 9 that the glitch occurred Sept. 4, with the majority of tests going unreported during Labor Day weekend. The error was resolved Sept. 7, and results for those days were reported available Sept. 8.

The glitch resulted in low testing reports for all of Nebraska, including the university, from Sept. 4-7. The missing four days of data were combined and added to the university’s testing tally on Sept. 8, causing a perceived spike in daily reports.

The Sept. 8 spike in testing data (gray bar) was caused by a glitch that resulted in missing data from Sept. 4-7 (yellow bar). All of the missing data was added to the Sept. 8 total.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department reported that the testing glitch was experienced through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. County health officials said they would continue to report test results as they are received from the state.

University officials are working with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to divide the data. If possible, the dashboard will be updated to reflect the total number of tests completed and positive results daily from Sept. 4-8.

The Sept. 8 tally (with the extra four days of data) reported 652 total tests and 101 positive cases of COVID-19. Overall, the university community has recorded 484 total positive tests from 2,912 tests.

“Today’s report is not a spike in cases or a record high number ;of cases in a day,” officials from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department reported. “Many of these new cases would have been spread out and reported over the past four days.”

The university is releasing testing data for a full 24-hour day, from midnight to 11:59 p.m. The reports, which are issued between 3 and 5 p.m. daily, include the number of positive tests and total number of tests linked to the university community and reported to the health department for the previous day. So, for example, results posted today (Sept. 10) reflect testing data from Sept. 9.

Due to some late results, data each day may still require updates. Most revisions are not expected to be significant.

The university launched the COVID-19 dashboard on Aug. 27. It includes tests completed at the university’s TestNebraska facility and University Health Center, as well as those completed elsewhere.

All data is provided by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. The dashboard will continue to be updated daily. Total cases, tests and positivity rate will be reported in Nebraska Today on Fridays.

The university is asking all members of the campus community to use the 1-Check COVID screening app to monitor symptoms. Individuals who feel ill or suspect exposure should stay home and consult with a primary health care professional or the University Health Center.

Free testing is available from the university’s TestNebraska site, which is open weekday afternoons. The University Health Center and other Lincoln-area medical facilities offer testing by appointment. The health center testing is also open 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Learn more about the university’s COVID-19 response, including public health protection measures that are in place.

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