Confused about DOH testing data? You’re not alone.

Article and data by both the Wolf and the Badger

On any given day, we receive half a dozen emails about the Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) conflicting testing data.

We’ve summarized the three primary data resources for pulling testing data from DOH, and created a standalone dashboard to show all that DOH provides.

Testing data by PDF Report:

The daily PDF report issued by DOH every day contains a summary (page 2) of the previous date’s testing figures.

The state previously (and controversially) switched from reporting the number of people tested to the number of tests processed per day, with a positivity rate calculated from new cases over total tests, which included repeat negatives but not repeat positives.

They switched to number of people tested per day (including duplicates, but only counting each person once per each day they were tested), but still pull out “new positive” separately from “number of positives.”

In early July, DOH started dumping in negative and positive antigen tests, which have a notoriously high false-negative rate, with regular PCR testing *, without specifying which results were antigen versus PCR.

Through May 2020, DOH did not create cases for people who only tested positive with antigen results — a second PCR positive result was required. Now, however, the report claims cases are created for antigen positive persons, but responses to our inquiries from DOH staff seem inconsistent.

Testing data by reporting laboratories

Much further down in the same report, you’ll find the lab data (example below)

We wrote a script to pull the lab data every day and calculate the number of new lab results for each of the inconclusive, negative, positive and total results columns. We show the new number of labs and positivity by day, and by week.

You can access that API through our GIS Open Data Hub here.

Testing data by DOH county data files

Then there’s the DOH county layer files that I built while still at DOH, which contain several fields for testing data that were (while I was there) representative of the number of individuals tested (not tests, retests, etc).

The dashboard and its data services have been spotty, at best, since I left DOH, but DOH insists the data is right, so we’re throwing those numbers in, too.

We put all three resources on one page to try to make sense of it, with help from Florida epidemiologists and members of the COVID Tracking Project.

Because the data is provided for the entire state, there is no filter option to break it down further by county. We’re working now to bring that to you as soon as possible.

Of course you can see this data on our main data dashboard here, or our grand-daddy version here.

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