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Data backlog blamed for sharp jump in Nevada COVID cases

Updated April 9, 2021 - 6:11 pm

Nevada on Friday reported the highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases in nearly a month, though state officials said a reporting backlog inflated the figure.

There were 637 new cases reported in the state over the preceding day, the most since 858 were recorded on March 12, according to state data and records maintained by the Review-Journal.

Caleb Cage, the state’s COVID-19 response director, said “a large number of cases” reported Friday were the result of a backlog.

“We’ve had a couple of days of high testing reported due to some labs sending in backlogged results,” he said during a call with reporters.

The state is still determining how much of the increase — if any — can be attributed to delayed reporting, he said. About 48 percent of the new cases reported from Clark County on Friday were delayed results from before March 26, state officials said.

Updated figures posted to the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus website also showed 10 additional deaths over the preceding 24 hours.

State totals rose to 306,952 cases and 5,323 deaths since the pandemic reached Nevada in March 2020.

Major disease metrics declined for nearly three months, but the trend lines have flattened and are showing signs of increasing, state officials noted last week. Some of the increase is to be expected as safety measures are loosened, but state officials are still looking to see how vaccination rates will affect the increase, Cage said on Friday.

“We’re not seeing a surge necessarily right now, although we are continuing to monitor,” Cage said.

Julia Peek, deputy administrator for the Department of Health and Human Services, said because of the rapid speed that coronavirus data is published, officials expect occasional delayed reporting to continue.

“We will never fully fix all the backlog issues or the IT issues, but we certainly now have a much better handle on what’s causing those, and we can address it more quickly,” Peek said.

New cases reported Friday were well above the moving 14-day average of daily recorded cases, which stood at 211. Deaths were also well above the moving two-week average of three daily reported fatalities.

The state’s two-week positivity rate, which essentially tracks how many people tested for COVID-19 are infected with the virus, increased for the fifth day in a row, climbing 0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent.

Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada

The rate had been steadily declining for nearly three months to a low of 4 percent before it started increasing on Monday.

Clark County’s positivity rate also increased by 0.1 percentage point, reaching 4.6 percent.

State and county health agencies often redistribute the daily data after it is reported to better reflect the date of death or onset of symptoms, which is why the moving-average trend lines frequently differ from daily reports and are considered better indicators of the direction of the outbreak.

There were 320 people in Nevada hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Friday’s report, which is 21 fewer than the previous day, according to state data.

The Nevada Hospital Association reported on Wednesday that the state is seeing “a slight increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations but not at a rate that is placing any significant burden on the health care system.”

Clark County on Friday reported 554 new cases and eight additional deaths, according to figures posted to the Southern Nevada Health District’s coronavirus website.

The county’s cumulative totals rose to 237,037 cases and 4,169 deaths.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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