Florida skips daily COVID-19 report Saturday due to ‘technical issue,' duplicated data

A lab technician begins semi-automated testing for COVID-19 at Northwell Health Labs on March 11 in Lake Success, New York. (Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the first time since the pandemic started more than six months ago, the daily report of updated COVID-19 cases from the Florida Department of Health was delayed by one day. The daily report resumed Sunday.

The department said Saturday that it had received about 400,000 previously reported test results from the Helix laboratory company and that it would need to “de-duplicate hundreds of thousands of results.”

On Monday, however, the department released a statement clearing Helix of blame for the problems. It said Helix’s submission of test results was “significantly lower” than 400,000 and that a technical issue caused the data’s repeated replication.

“This was not the fault of Helix or the Department of Health,” Monday’s statement said. “We are working with technical experts to ensure this does not happen with subsequent data submissions.”

The DOH noted that the reporting issue was not related to notifying individuals of their results.

Helix released a statement about the technical issue:

On the day in question, we submitted approximately 3,000 reports, in line with our testing volumes from that day. As far as we can tell, our transmission was normal. Due to an unforeseen technical issue not caused by Helix, however, previously reported historical data was repeated. We continue to work with the Department of Health to understand exactly what happened and why our historical data was impacted. We remain committed to providing accurate, rapid and reliable COVID-19 testing to the residents of Florida and working closely with the Florida Department of Public Health in the fight against COVID-19 to ensure access to accurate and reliable data.

For the numbers as of Friday, read below:

Florida added 2,908 cases of COVID-19 on Friday to bring the state’s total to 728,921 since March.

In the first nine days of October, Florida averaged 2,489 daily cases of coronavirus, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

On Friday, Florida added 118 coronavirus-related deaths, pushing Florida’s total to 15,372 deaths of residents and non-residents since the pandemic began.

Florida ranks 12th among states for COVID-19 related deaths per capita.

There were nine Northeast Florida deaths reported Friday.

Duval County reported three more deaths for a total of 474 since the pandemic began. Alachua County added two more deaths and Baker, Bradford, Nassau and Union added one each.

About 40% of the coronavirus-related deaths in Florida over the last seven months have been connected to long-term care facilities. A separate Department of Health report indicated that almost all of the deaths involved residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, with about 70 involving staff members.

Florida vs. Duval County daily case increases from June-present:

The state’s positivity rate has also remained low, only rising above 5% two of the last 14 days.

In metro Jacksonville, case growth and positivity rates are generally lower. St. Johns, Clay, Nassau, Flagler and Bradford counties all reported positivity rates below 3% on Thursday. Duval County’s positivity rate was 4.79%.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, breathing trouble, sore throat, muscle pain, and loss of taste or smell. Most people develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.