May 27, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

JoCo doc: COVID positivity rate artificially high, from skewed sample

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Dr. Christine White, a pediatrician with Johnson County Pediatrics, says the COVID positivity rate is artificially high because “the data is obtained from a skewed sample.” White says the vast majority of people tested in Johnson County already have symptoms or have a known exposure to COVID.

White spoke at last night’s Blue Valley School Board meeting, urging the district to reconsider its school opening plan that requires a sustained 5% positivity rate on COVID testing in Johnson County before allowing full in-person instruction.  She said Shawnee County Medical Center has tested 7,500 asymptomatic pre-op patients over the last three months and found just 0.5% (half of one percent) tested positive for the virus; testing done on 700 symptomatic people who came to the emergency room found 13% were positive.  White’s comments appear about an hour and 51 minutes into the video.

The Johnson County COVID dashboard shows an 11.1% positive moving average rate as of August 15, and county health officials say that’s too high for schools to safely open for in-person learning.

White says the county would need to randomly sample between 1,000 and 2,000 people daily to get a more reliable estimate of the COVID positivity rate.

As of August 17, only about 1% of the population is confirmed to have had COVID-19 as some point.  The number of reported new cases increased over the last two weeks but it’s encouraging that the hospitalization and death rates continue to decline.

There were only nine new hospitalizations for the week ended August 17 and the mortality rate fell to a new low of 1.6% (reported deaths as a percentage of reported cases).

Hospitalization and mortality rates are also falling across Kansas.

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