Health Services (DHS) Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm told reporters on Thursday that the number of negative test results she regularly provides is wrong.
At every press conference, Palm states the new positive and negative COVID-19 test results processed in the state of Wisconsin that day. DHS, apparently, adds those two numbers together to determine the total number of tests processed that day and calculate the percentage of positive tests, which indicates how prevalent the virus is in the general population.
Minutes after providing this update on Thursday, July 23, Palm admitted the numbers she provides are not accurate. “A number of local jurisdictions” are not reporting their numbers of negative test results at the same time they report their positive test results, according to Palm.
Palm did not disclose how many local governments are failing to report accurate information each day.
“With all of this data, there are bumps in it,” Palm said. Palm said the data can lag up to three days. However, Dane County, alone, is over ten days behind.
Not only does this mean the Evers Administration does not have an accurate count of how many tests are coming back negative. It also means the administration does not know how many tests are being processed each day, and that is a key metric in determining how the state is progressing in its efforts to control the spread of coronavirus.