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Letter: Utah Department of Health needs to clarify its COVID-19 data

Letter to the Editor Deseret News

Ashley Imlay did an excellent job in presenting the breakdown data released by the Utah Department of Health that is related to the COVID-19 outbreak here in Utah (“Utah seeing ‘plateau’ in COVID-19 cases, but elderly remain at high risk” May 11).

There is one question that arises from the data provided by the Utah Department of Health for which I have never seen nor heard an answer, either in the various news media or press briefings. That question is, are we counting a single person (person A1) that was diagnosed to have the virus originally as an additional unique case (now person B1), based on a positive retest as he/she prepares to end recommended quarantine? The vertical axis of the table showing confirmed cases vs. time posted on the Utah Department of Health’s website titled “Lab Confirmed COVID-19 Cases” does not clarify the issue. It merely states “lab-confirmed cases,” with no differentiation as to whether or not a single individual has been counted more than once, based solely on a positive lab test.

The issue may appear trite to some, but the data on total confirmed cases is being used in formulating policy decisions that impact the socioeconomic life of Utahns at the present and into the months ahead. It is essential that this data be correct. A simple clarification on the part of the Utah Department of Health would be a benefit to all.

Ray Stillwell

Sandy