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Lab company cleared in COVID-19 data problem as Florida adds 1,533 cases

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Florida Department of Health said Monday that a private lab was not at fault for a problem Saturday that delayed the release of statistics about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.”

After months of releasing daily statistics about the pandemic, the department did not put out a report Saturday, before resuming Sunday.

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.”

Meanwhile, Florida on Monday reported 1,533 additional coronavirus cases and 47 more deaths.

Eight of the deaths recorded Monday were in Northeast Florida: four in Duval County and one each in Alachua, Clay, Columbia and Putnam counties.

Since March, the state has reported a total of 736,024 COVID-19 cases and 15,599 deaths.

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.