Nearly 3,000 erroneously reported COVID-19 hospitalizations had to be removed from Arizona’s official tally this week. The director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, Dr. Cara Christ, advised the public of the error and the subsequent correction on her blog.
In March, Governor Doug Ducey shut down the state through an executive order in order to “flatten the curve.” The move was intended to prevent a flood of hospitalizations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, public health experts determined that a large healthcare provider was reporting an admission date for COVID-19 cases when these individuals were not actually hospitalized. The data being reported in the admission date field of the report form was actually the date the individual was seen by a healthcare provider. Because these cases were being reported with an admission date, they were being counted as hospitalized in the Hospitalization section of our data dashboard.
Data reported prior to the end of August has been corrected to remove these cases from counts displayed in the Hospitalization section of the data dashboard. As a result, the number of hospitalized cases has decreased by 2,815, primarily in Maricopa County. Our epidemiologists continue to put data quality systems in place so all of the data reported is accurately characterized and used to identify interventions.
In August, the ADI exposed the fact that “the overall number of deaths in Maricopa County attributed to the virus has nothing to do solely with a deceased’s cause of death.”
According to the ADI report, “Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, Maricopa County’s Medical Director of Disease Control, admitted that Maricopa County’s COVID-19 death count includes people who tested positive days, sometimes weeks, prior to dying, despite lack of any medical evidence that the coronavirus played a role in the person’s death.”
Currently, the Arizona Department of Health Services reports that 9 percent of those who have contracted the disease have been hospitalized. The revised total number of hospitalizations since March is 20,050.
Despite the fact that hospitalizations related to COVID-19 continue to plummet, much of the state remains closed.
Arizona’s number of ICU beds in use by #COVID19 patients is at 147, down by approximately 85% from July 13. The number of ventilators in use by COVID-19 patients decreased to 66, down by approximately 90% from July 16. 1/ pic.twitter.com/unjg6dBkfC
— The 9th Floor (@9thFloorAZ) October 7, 2020