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Wisconsin’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers ‘not yet completely accurate’

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19.

(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s public health managers continue to publish daily updates on the number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19, even though those numbers are wrong.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk told reporters Tuesday afternoon there continue to be problems with the data when it comes to the state’s hospitalization rates.

“They are not yet completely accurate,” Willems Van Dijk said. “We are getting closer in that regard. We are seeing more hospitals reporting. And very soon we hope that we will have the two systems fully integrated so the complete picture will be there.”

The federal government changed its reporting requirements last week. Instead of reporting hospitalizations to the state, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS would be in charge of collecting hospitalization data.

Since the change, Wisconsin’s hospitalization numbers have seesawed.

On Tuesday, Wisconsin’s DHS reported 294 people were in the hospital because of COVID-19, with 111 in the ICU. That is down from more than 360 people in the hospital the day before.

Those numbers are different than what the Wisconsin Hospital Association is reporting. WHA reported Tuesday that 345 people were in the hospital, and 120 in the ICU.

The hospital association also warned its data is incomplete.

“Over the past several days, federally mandated changes to data reporting interrupted the WHA’s ability to report certain COVID-19 metrics in a consistent manner,” WHA said on its website. “Data reported from July 30 and forward accurately reflects the new reporting requirements.”

Willems Van Dijk said it could be a while before Wisconsin gets its hospitalization data under control.

“We really appreciate the partnership of our friends at the Wisconsin Hospital Association, and all of hospitals across the state who are gathering data everyday so that we can fully understand this,” Willems Van Dijk added. “We’ll be able to have that data very soon.”

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