CDC info hub replacement effed up--surprised??


...The delays and problems with data on the availability of beds, ventilators and safety equipment could have profound consequences as infections and deaths soar throughout most of the country, public health experts say.

"If the information is not accurate, it could cost time — and lives," says Lisa M. Lee, formerly the chief science officer for public health surveillance at CDC, now at Virginia Tech. For instance, knowing which hospitals have the capacity to take on new patients is critical, she explains. "If all the ICU beds are taken up, emergency medical personnel need to take [new patients] to the next town over or to the next county."...

...The data now available to the public appears to be neither faster nor more complete.

When HHS took over the collection and reporting of this hospital capacity data, it promised to update "multiple times each day." Later, the agency walked that back to say it would be updated daily.

Those daily updates have yet to materialize. On Thursday, an HHS spokesperson told NPR via e-mail, "We will be updating the site to make it clear that the estimates are only updated weekly."....

....After the data reporting switch, unusual numbers started cropping up in data that show how many hospital beds are filled in a given state, data analysts say. In some states, the bed occupancy rates soared, even though the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients dropped or only increased modestly.

Take, for example, Arizona. Under the old system, in data last collected by CDC on July 14, an estimated 3,205 COVID-19 patients in Arizona occupied 24% of the state's inpatient hospital beds. After the switch to the new HHS reporting system, an analogous dataset posted by HHS showed 82 fewer COVID-19 patients hospitalized, but the bed occupancy rate had jumped to 42%. It's unclear how fewer patients could be occupying more hospital capacity.

There are similar anomalies in the data for other states, including Georgia and New Mexico.

In Colorado, the hospitalization data maintained by HHS conflicts with the state's data posted to a daily dashboard. As of July 30, the state dashboard lists 341 patients hospitalized in Colorado with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. A dataset maintained by the HHS, updated on July 30, lists 491 patients in Colorado.

"There's either a difference in how we're accounting or there's a difference in how we're reporting," Dr. Stephen Cantrill, an emergency physician at Denver Health, a health care system in Colorado. "Is this a systemic issue or is this just a one state issue?"

Cantrill says he's been hearing from colleagues of data inconsistencies in other states, too.....

....The organizers of the tracking website COVID Exit Strategy initially found the data provided by HHS Protect to be unusable. "It had some states like Rhode Island having an inpatient bed utilization of above 100%," says site co-founder Ryan Panchadsaram, "And Rhode Island is a state where hospitalizations are quite low for COVID."....


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