October 11, 2020

DHSS addresses State of Missouri COVID-19 data concerns as it transitions to automatic reporting

For Immediate Release:
October 11, 2020

Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Providing real-time information and reporting about COVID-19’s impact on Missouri remains a top priority for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).

DHSS works diligently each day to provide transparent and actionable data to Missourians to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. The amount and types of information creates a dynamic, complex situation which changes constantly. DHSS is currently in the process of migrating all COVID-19 testing and case data into one new consolidated system, called EpiTrax.

Missouri launched a new version of the Show Me Strong COVID-19 Public Health Dashboard on Sept. 28 to integrate pandemic response data across public health, economic, employment, and social impact indicators. This single point of access provides recovery information with greater detail and specificity across the various sectors, and also seeks to streamline data reporting.

A database extract error on Oct. 10 resulted in an incorrect inflation of the number of reported cases going back over several days, suggesting that 5,020 cases had been added in 24 hours.

“When this issue was initially raised Saturday morning, the dashboard team began working through the data to identify the problem and are working through the weekend to correct the underlying issue,” said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. “Missourians should feel confident that we appreciate their feedback and continue to adapt our processes to ensure effective and accountable reporting to our citizens.”

DHSS team members have examined the system issue and are working urgently to resolve it. The Show Me Strong COVID-19 Public Health Dashboard will be updated once that resolution is complete. One key aim of transitioning to the new EpiTrax system is to standardize data management, and, thereby, prevent data reporting issues in the future. 

It is important to note that all new cases have still been, and will continue to be, reported accurately and in a timely fashion to local public health agencies for case investigation. The above issues were limited to cumulative reporting on the Show Me Strong COVID-19 Public Health Dashboard.

“We are committed to continually improving our practices,” said Williams. “While our updated internal processes serve the purpose of reporting data with greater granularity, finalizing the new approach to replace manual entry presents our team with technical challenges that we are working through.”