The number of Covid-19 cases are rising throughout San Benito County.

Errors in the state’s Covid-19 data reporting system have led to vast undercounts of both positive and negative results in counties throughout California.

A message on Santa Clara County’s “Novel Coronavirus” web page says the local number of Covid-19 cases and related data “has been underreported for the last few weeks.”

“The state is in the process of providing the backlogged data to counties statewide, and we have been expecting a large number of cases to be reported today and possibly over the next few days,” the Aug. 10 message from Santa Clara County says. 

Based on data received from the state over the weekend, Santa Clara County today is reporting 751 new Covid-19 cases. This number includes a combination of positive tests from as far back as July 8, though most are from last week.

The issues with the state’s Covid-19 data system have caused hundreds of thousands of health records to go unprocessed, impacting the validity of the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE), according to San Benito County officials. All counties in California rely on CalREDIE when updating local online data dashboards.

State officials, as of Aug. 10, have reported that the software problem has been corrected and all backlogged cases should be entered into the system by the end of this week.

“While we are not sure the effect this will have on San Benito County as total number of reported cases are still unknown, it’s clear that on a larger scale, somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 health records, which included tests for the novel coronavirus, went backlogged because of the technological problem,” stated San Benito County Interim Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci. 

California State Health and Human Services Agency Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly said Aug. 7, “No counties have been taken off or added to the monitoring list since last Friday, because the state paused changes to the list in order to make sure its data was accurate before moving forward.” San Benito County has been on the monitoring list since July 7.

To address the data system error the state is putting into place new protocols and notifications when any changes are made to the CalREDIE system, reads a press release from San Benito County. Upgrades have been made to the servers to ensure they have extra capacity, and there is now a redundant system to validate data and reports. Oversight and monitoring has been strengthened so case data is complete, timely and validated. Finally, the governor has directed a full investigation of what happened.

“On the local level, we work closely with our Emergency Department and health care providers that are increasing their capacity to report Covid-19 cases. It is fortunate that we are small and have built strong public health relationships allowing for work-arounds and alternate reporting strategies,” said Tracey Belton, San Benito County Health and Human Services Director. 

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