North Carolina has performed about 221,000 fewer coronavirus tests than previously reported. The state Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday there was an error in the testing data that the company LabCorp submitted to the state. The department said it has corrected the error.
From late April until last week, LabCorp accidentally included at-home test kits from out of state that were processed in North Carolina in the cumulative testing numbers it submitted manually to the state health department, the company’s Chief Medical Officer, Brian Caveney, said in a press release.
The official count of cumulative tests performed in North Carolina is now 1,823,283 compared to the previously reported 2,044,727.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said the mistake did not affect key metrics like the total number of positive coronavirus cases or the percent of positive cases because those are calculated using data submitted electronically. She said LabCorp’s electronically submitted numbers were accurate.
“LabCorp’s submission through the electronic mechanism is unchanged,” Cohen said. “So their positives were right, the percent positives were correct. What we have needed to update and correct is the total cumulative tests.”
Cohen said data processing teams at the department noticed the discrepancy between LabCorp’s electronic and manual data.
“I think any time you have humans interacting with data there is going to be a chance for error,” Cohen said, adding that the department has been working to improve its data collection process and remove the possibility for human error.
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