The Santa Clara County Health Department popped ahead of the curve last month when it started reporting the latest Covid-19 pandemic stats, from hospitalization and testing to cases in long-term care facilities.
But in the last week, the county has neglected to update the daily case count on three different occasions, citing a “data update” with California’s statewide database—the Reportable Disease Information Exchange, or CalREDIE.
The update, however, didn’t stop other counties from reporting new cases.
“On one day, an electronic tool that extracts data from CalREDIE for analytic purposes was temporarily unavailable until about 3:30pm due to technical issues caused by the increasing data loads,” an unnamed state public health spokesperson told Fly. “The issues ha[ve] now been resolved. During that time, local health department users have had complete access to the system all day, and electronic laboratory reports were submitted into the system all day.”
But word from the state didn’t exactly align with answers from Santa Clara County health reps. “Providing timely and accurate data is a priority of the Public Health Department,” a Santa Clara County spokesflak told Fly. “The data analysis team used April 18 and 19 to ensure data accuracy and identify data points that would more accurately represent the trajectory of the virus in the county.”
San Francisco-based data scientist Peter Khoury—who’s been closely tracking information released by Bay Area health departments as part of the Phoenix Data Project—says that Santa Clara County has done an admirable job of putting together a robust data dashboard. And yet, he adds, the reporting gaps give him pause.
“I’m not worried about just those missing days because I can still draw trend lines through those days,” he told Fly. “What worries me a little bit more is it indicates a little bit [of] sloppiness.”