How, when and why Oklahoma will begin adding ‘probable’ COVID-19 cases to its daily reporting

KRMG spoke at length with the Oklahoma State Epidemiologist for a breakdown of how the numbers get calculated, and why the state is making the change

TULSA — Tuesday, Oklahoma will begin adding “probable” cases of COVID-19 into the daily count of cases it releases to the public.

KRMG first broke the news Wednesday, after an email that went out from a regional health department director to county commissioners across much of northeast Oklahoma was sent to us by a listener.

Friday, our reporter spoke with (interim) Oklahoma State Epidemiologist Dr. Jared Taylor, who confirmed that the state will make the change effective Sept. 8th, and that the new reporting system will be made retroactive to September 1st.

“We’re now expanding our definition of cases to include both those categories of ’confirmed’ and ’probable’ when using CDC’s criteria,” Taylor said.

He went on to explain that the state has always combined those numbers in its reporting to CDC, but had only reported “confirmed” cases in the number released in the OSDH’s daily report released publicly.

“We never called them ’confirmed’ cases in any of our materials, we just referred to them as ’cases,’” he added. “We are now expanding our definition of cases.”

He said that will create more accurate - and consistent - reporting, bringing the state’s criteria in line with those used by the CDC and by Johns Hopkins University.

The state will also adjust how it counts the “positivity rate” of tests, using a more complex formula which should again make the data more relevant, and also utilizes the formula employed by Johns Hopkins University.

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