By Erica Thomas, Managing Editor

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported on its website there could be an increase in positive COVID-19 cases over the next few days, due to two issues.

The ADPH said a large laboratory has not been reporting positive COVID-19 results. Those numbers will be added to the ADPH Data and Surveillance Dashboard over the next two cycles of data entry. Data is entered into the system daily. Some of the cases added actually occurred months ago, according to a statement issued by the ADPH.

“COVID-19 is a notifiable disease and laboratories are mandatory reporters,” Arrol Sheehan, with ADPH, said in the statement. “ADPH does not have control over when results are reported.”

The name of the laboratory that did not report to the state has not been revealed by the health department.

The second issue that will impact numbers was due to clerical errors made in the Alabama NEDSS Base System (ALNBS).

“When some entities enter the facility name by free text, the system may not pick up the name if there are hyphens or other characters that do not match,” Sheehan explained. “When the system does not recognize the name to match to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), the report is rejected. CLIA is a required field for the laboratory report to be added to the system and counted as a case.”

The department’s Information Technology is reprocessing data and that could lead to more cases being added to the dashboard. 

For information related to when a case occurred versus when the case was reported, you can view TAB 5 in the ADPH Dashboard.

As of Thursday morning, the dashboard showed 2,551 positive cases reported across the state in the past seven days. There were 475 patients hospitalized in Alabama on Oct. 27 and the number of hospitalizations has been on a steady decline since Sept. 1, when there were 2,890 COVID-positive patients hospitalized.