A FOX 35 investigation released on Monday discovered an inflation of coronavirus cases by the Florida Department of Health. The Sunshine State’s health authorities misreported the number of persons testing positive for coronavirus in its aggregation and publication of test results from laboratories.
FOX 35 anchor Charles Billi explained the impetus for the investigation. He said, “We found numerous labs that are only reporting positive test results, so they show a 100-percent positivity rate. That got our attention.”
According to the latest publication of statewide test results from the Florida Department of Health, published on Friday, several testing facilities’ positivity rates for coronavirus tests were 27.66, 33.33, 37.10, 40, 43.13, 44.44, 50, 55, 57.14, 59.23, 60, 87.5, 91.18, and 100.
Twenty-two labs reported 100-percent positivity rates. Two labs reported 91.18-percent positivity rates.
The Florida Department of Health’s stated positivity rates and associated volume of coronavirus cases does not match claims made by the testing facilities, reported FOX 35:
Countless labs have reported a 100 percent positivity rate, which means every single person tested was positive. Other labs had very high positivity rates. FOX 35 found that testing sites like Centra Care reported that 83 people were tested and all tested positive. Then, NCF Diagnostics in Alachua reported 88 percent of tests were positive.
How could that be? FOX 35 News investigated these astronomical numbers, contacting every local location mentioned in the report.
The report showed that Orlando Health had a 98 percent positivity rate. However, when FOX 35 News contacted the hospital, they confirmed errors in the report. Orlando Health’s positivity rate is only 9.4 percent, not 98 percent as in the report.
“The report also showed that the Orlando Veteran’s Medical Center had a positivity rate of 76 percent,” added FOX 35. “A spokesperson for the VA told FOX 35 News on Tuesday that this does not reflect their numbers and that the positivity rate for the center is actually 6 percent.”
The outlet added:
“FOX 35 News went on to speak with the Florida Department of Health on Tuesday. They confirmed that although private and public laboratories are required to report positive and negative results to the state immediately, some have not. Specifically, they said that some smaller, private labs were not reporting negative test result data to the state.”
FOX 35’s Robert Guaderrama is awaiting a response from state officials regarding the health department’s errors:
Two major hospital systems in Orlando confirm errors on @HealthyFla #COVID19 report. I am asking the State to explain what happened. @GovRonDeSantis #Florida @fox35orlando #FOX35 https://t.co/hPmuQeVSzx
— Robert Guaderrama (@FOX35Robert) July 14, 2020
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.