CDC and 11 states acknowledge mixing results of viral and antibody tests

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services changed the way it reports data on COVID-19 testing starting May 23.

The change separates out the results of the two different types of tests which are serology and diagnostic. These results were not previously separated.

“Accuracy and transparency are paramount as we continue to respond to this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We continue to expand and improve data reporting to make sure the public understands where their community stands with the COVID-19 outbreak.”  

The change in reporting does not affect the number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan, according to MDHHS. It does lower the percentage of positive tests over the last nine days when serology testing became more common.

Michigan’s COVID-19 website now shows results for 512,891 total tests reported to the state – with 450,918 diagnostic test results and 61,973 serology results.

Diagnostic tests are most helpful in tracking the spread of COVID-19 since they can show the number of people who currently have the COVID-19 virus. Serology tests are still being studied regarding their utility.  They are currently most helpful in understanding how much a community may have been exposed to the disease.

Approximately 12 percent of Michigan’s tests overall have been serology tests with about 60 percent of those have been from the past nine days, according to MDHHS.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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