COVID-19 Testing Data in Florida Inaccurate, Hospitals Say

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
July 14, 2020Updated: July 15, 2020

Sky-high positivity rates listed by the Florida Department of Health in its daily CCP virus report are wrong, hospitals told The Epoch Times.

“It looks like there is an error in the data report. Lee Health has not experienced 100% positivity in our lab testing,” Pat Dolce, a spokeswoman for Lee Health, said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

“We are reaching out to the Department of Health to resolve the discrepancy.”

The report (pdf) showed that Orlando Health had a 98 percent positivity rate.

That number “is incorrect,” an Orlando Health spokeswoman told The Epoch Times in an email. The hospital system’s positivity rate is 9.4 percent as of July 12, she said.

Epoch Times Photo
A nurse takes a patient to their car from Memorial West Hospital where COVID-19 patients are treated, in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on July 13, 2020. (Maria Alejandra Cardona/Reuters)

The Orlando Veteran’s Medical Center was listed as having 76 percent positivity rate.

But a Veterans Affairs spokeswoman told The Epoch Times that the positivity rate for the center is 7 percent.

The positivity rate refers to the percentage of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus tests that come back positive. The new virus from China causes COVID-19, a disease that kills a small percentage of patients.

The Florida Department of Health reported an 11.5 percent positivity rate across the state on Monday, a slight uptick from Sunday.

A spokesperson for the department confirmed to The Epoch Times that some of the figures in its daily report are not correct.

“In recent days, the Florida Department of Health noticed that some smaller, private labs weren’t reporting negative test result data to the state. The Department immediately began working with those labs to ensure that all results were being reported in order to provide comprehensive and transparent data,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“As the state continues to receive results from various labs, the Department will continue educating these labs on proper protocol for reporting COVID-19 test results.”

Epoch Times Photo
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis puts on a mask during a press conference at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Fla., on July 13, 2020. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

The story was first reported by Fox 35.

A rise in CCP virus cases and the positivity rate in Florida has caused concerns among officials.

State officials said 112,624 tests were done on July 12 and 12,624 came back positive.

Florida doesn’t appear to track the daily number of hospitalizations; officials say 18,881 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since the pandemic started. According to an independent group, the COVID-19 Tracking Project, 8,051 people are currently hospitalized in the state.

Florida reported that 35 residents who tested positive for the new disease have died since July 12, bringing the deaths linked to COVID-19 to 4,514. The positivity rate, even with the errors, stayed steady for two days straight after the state recently saw a 16 percent rate.

Most patients who get infected with the CCP virus eventually recover. The virus primarily causes severe illness in the elderly and infirm.