Two days after the state cited a data dump from a private lab as the cause for the delay in reporting new COVID-19 numbers, the Florida Department of Health said the delay was actually caused by a technical issue.
On Saturday, the state said its daily coronavirus report would be delayed until Sunday because of an overnight submission of about 400,000 previously-reported test results from Helix Laboratory, a private lab.
On Monday, the state said the lab's submission was actually much lower than 400,000, and "an unforeseen technical issue resulted in the data's repeated replication."
"This was not the fault of Helix or the Department of Health," the agency said in a statement. "We are working with technical experts to ensure this does not happen with subsequent data submissions."
The health department said none of the replicated test results have been included in subsequent daily COVID-19 reports. The state said all the information about past test numbers, case counts and positivity rates remain accurate and unaffected by the technical error.
The health department also said there has been no delay in returning test results to people tested or to health care providers.
A spokesperson with Helix sent the following statement to 10 Tampa Bay:
"Over the weekend, the Florida Department of Health announced that its daily COVID-19 report would be delayed due to 400,000 previously-reported COVID-19 test results being resubmitted by Helix. As the Department of Health noted in their updated statement today, however, Helix submitted results in accordance with the Florida Statute and DOH procedures and was not at fault for this incident.
On the day in question, we submitted approximately 3,000 reports, in line with our testing volumes from that day. As far as we can tell, our transmission was normal. Due to an unforeseen technical issue not caused by Helix, however, previously reported historical data was repeated. We continue to work with the Department of Health to understand exactly what happened and why our historical data was impacted.
We remain committed to providing accurate, rapid and reliable COVID-19 testing to the residents of Florida and working closely with the Florida Department of Public Health in the fight against COVID-19 to ensure access to accurate and reliable data."
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