Mahoning County Public Health Refutes Case Count Claim
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Mahoning County Public Health responded to media reports that it was releasing inflated COVID-19 case counts for the county.
Both MCPH and the Ohio Department of Health report disease data in the Ohio Disease Reporting System, which is a person-based system, not test-based, according to the statement. If an individual is tested multiple times, each test is recorded in his exclusive, individual record.
ODRS is “designed to flag duplicate entries,” which are then corrected, the agency stated. Case counts are pulled from ODRS and any locally reported numbers or by ODH “do not include duplicate entries.”
“Per the Ohio Department of Health, the report that one person was counted as 15 cases is false,” stated Mahoning County Public Health. “In this incident, 15 people around the same age (80 plus) were tested on the same day and were all confirmed positive, for example, mass testing conducted in a nursing home. It is only one line item in the data file on the Ohio Department of Health Coronavirus website, because ODH is trying to condense the size of the file to make it easier to read. It is not one person being counted 15 times.”
The initial claim of inflated numbers was made on Fox News during a Wednesday segment of “Ingraham Angle” that discussed alleged cases in the United States where positive cases of repeat tests are being counted as new cases. Phil Kerpen, president of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, presented the claim to host Laura Ingraham that a person of unknown gender in Mahoning County who is 80-plus years old was tested 15 times.
Pictured: File image of COVID-19 testing of first responders at Roosevelt Park on April 6.
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.