April 10, 2021

DHSS continues efforts to refine and report COVID-related data

Historical dataset of negative COVID-19 test results being updated


For Immediate Release:
April 10, 2021

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


JEFFERSON CITY, MO –  The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announces today an ongoing review and update to historical negative test results data reported on Missouri’s public health dashboard

“We are greatly appreciative of the efforts by our partners throughout the healthcare delivery system that have transitioned to electronic case reporting for COVID-19 test results,” said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. “Their collaboration has helped to inform the actions and decisions that have resulted in Missouri remaining among the best states in the nation for low COVID-19 positivity rates for numerous months. More than 95% of COVID-19 test results are now reported through this electronic system, bringing a lot of new efficiency and effectiveness to our efforts. As with all systemic changes, we have to consistently review and refine our efforts, and the implementation of our electronic case reporting is another example of this effort.”

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, the DHSS Bureau of Reportable Disease Informatics had processed approximately 160,000 laboratory results annually, predominantly through a manual process. The Department initiated efforts to transition to an electronic laboratory reporting system that ingests records automatically. The outbreak has resulted in a more than 4,000% increase in laboratory results reported to DHSS through the Bureau of Reportable Disease Informatics, and the transition to the electronic laboratory reporting has expedited the ability to timely receive and report test result records.

“DHSS has identified some difficulties with our implemented Electronic Messaging Staging Area system that has errantly created numerous additional records that are now requiring DHSS staff to do a manual review and match of records,” said Adam Crumbliss, Director of the Division of Community and Public Health. “We have assigned additional staff to review and match these records to ensure accuracy in historical records, recognizing that a large proportion of these negative test records are redundant.”

With the exception of up to 8 positive test records that had been incorrectly processed, the remaining records from negative tests have an impact of possibly overstating the Missouri COVID-19 positivity rate in a minimal way. A review of the maximum possible impact of these potential data changes resulted in a 7-day average positivity rate that decreased by less than 1% at any given time.

“We will continue working to review and adjust our historical data, and refining our electronic case reporting systems but believe that transparency is fundamentally important to providing accurate and clear data for Missourians,” Crumbliss said.