Mississippi Department of Health blames software issues on COVID-19 reporting delays

Mississippi Department of Health blames software issues on COVID-19 reporting delays

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -The state’s COVID-19 numbers are updated now. But there have been reporting problems.

The Mississippi Department of Health has failed to provide a daily COVID-19 report on more than one occasion this month. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has previously referenced the system problems.

“We are working with sort of a legacy software system that wasn’t equipped to deal with 250,000 records,” said Dobbs at the June 12 briefing with the Governor.

The Department cited those same issues last week in a tweet. But said Monday that data had been restored and processes are in place to procure a new system. Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton says his city is relying on that daily data.

“It hampers our ability to react in real time to the situation,” said Shelton. “Say, if we’re going to put restrictions in place...at what level do we need to do that? So, we’re still, for example, trying to determine whether to do a mandate to wear a mask or different types of social distancing on a local level. And we need all of that information to be able to make an informed decision.”

Here’s a look at the case counts for the seven days before the reports stopped over the weekend. I asked Dr. Jennifer Bryan with the Mississippi State Medical Association about the trends they’ve noticed.

“It’s not getting better,” said Dr. Bryan. “In fact, it’s getting a little worse. And we see the increase in cases and we hear that’s from an increase in testing but that’s just not the case. Certainly we are seeing more cases from increased testing but the amount of hospitalization, ICU and ventilator utilizations and deaths tell us that this is growing and it’s more than just increased testing.”

One thing to note, Monday’s count includes the last five days. But June 17th had already been reported with 381 cases, 5 deaths. That would mean there are 1,265 cases and 35 deaths that weren’t previously reported before Monday. The department did not provide any daily breakdowns of those numbers.

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.