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COVID-19 Numbers impacted by computer backlog

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Posted at 5:11 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 22:26:00-05

TULSA, Okla. — A surge in new COVID-19 cases Friday was caused by a technical issue according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The OSDH reporting 4,827 new cases looks like a sharp increase compared to the 3 -thousand daily case average.

The computer system tracking the COVID data is to blame for the spike, according to OSDH Deputy Health Commissioner Travis Kirkpatrick.

“The data is all appropriate it's just, it should have been reported on the day that it actually came out of the system, and unfortunately due to some, some system issues that were created, that (caused) an inability to do it until today.” Said Kirkpatrick.

According to the OSDH, the numbers do not show a sharp increase initially thought.

“The data that came out that was reported as if you stratified over the two day period, it's still consistently how much we've been seeing so that 4,827 number is certainly kind of shocking a bit but when you look at it that it's a two day total you start to kind of give it a little bit more context.” Said Kirkpatrick.

The computer system used to track the data isn’t designed for this kind of caseload.

It’s designed to track disease on a smaller more granular scale than a pandemic.

“So, when you've got a system designed to kind of do granular case investigation consuming that much data. It's overwhelming to any system, much less one that was built 15 years ago for kind of a different purpose.” Said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick says while the daily case numbers are important, the 7-day average is really what tells the story of what direction the state is headed.

Right now that 7-day average is slowly creeping upward.