LDH updates methodology for assigning locations to COVID cases, tests

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Aug 25, 2020

The Louisiana Department of Health has updated the methodology used to assign cases and tests to the best known locations as of Tuesday. The new methodology allows LDH to account for patients who have been tested more than once and may have moved at some point during the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to LDH, lab data reported to the state is often incomplete and that includes location data.

Major changes in methodology include:

  • Geographic assignment will now occur at the individual test report record level.
  • All test report records with a valid, accurate address will be assigned to geography based on that address.
  • Any test report record for a patient with an invalid or less accurate address will be assigned using the most recent accurate address available for that patient. Previously all cases were assigned to the single "best" address available for a patient across all of their tests. Previously if two addresses were equally valid, the earlier one was selected.

The changes will result in an improved picture of where cases and tests are occurring, especially as the pandemic extends into its sixth month and people begin to move more often, LDH says.

The changes account for most of the movement in case and test counts we saw with the implementation of the new methodology. While changes as a whole are relatively mild, certain parishes see significant movement, especially in testing counts.

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