California’s public health response to coronavirus may be hindered after major technical issues with the state’s electronic case reporting mechanism.
Officials in the state are now counting test results by hand, but the technical issues affect the rate at which COVID-19 testing results are processed and analyzed, leading to an undercount of total infection rates. The California Department of Public Health confirmed the incident in a note on its website Tuesday.
“Due to issues with the state’s electronic laboratory reporting system, these data represent an underreporting of actual positive cases in one single-day,” the department said.
On Monday, the state reported just over 5,700 new COVID-19 cases. And on Tuesday, new cases declined to approximately 4,500. State officials said they were unaware of how long the electronic issue existed or to what extent it affected their understanding of the illness’s transmission.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced intensified penalties for those who violate social distancing protocols, authorizing the city government to cut power and water to homes that host unlawful gatherings during the pandemic.
“Starting on Friday night, if the LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a property, and we see these properties re-offending time and time again, they will provide and initiate the process that DWP shut off services within the next 48 hours,” Garcetti said during a press conference.
California’s total official coronavirus count currently tops 524,700 cases and over 9,700 deaths.
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