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KDHE rolls out improved method of reporting clusters

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 2:33 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has tweaked its reporting process for COVID-19 hotspots.

Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Dr. Lee Norman says the department has tweaked the way it reports COVID-19 clusters in the state by only counting cases that have occurred from a single place in the last 14 days.

According to Dr. Norman, the KDHE now publishes names and locations of places that have five or more COVID-19 cases within the last 14 days. Previously the department reported cases that arose in the last 28 days, which Norman said caused a lot of confusion among residents.

“We got feedback a lot of positive and some negative about our methodology before," he said. “The release of this information allows for more transparency as we get numerous requests from concerned citizens about the exact location of COVID-19 clusters,”

Dr. Norman said the KDHE website will be updated each Wednesday with new cluster information.

According to the KDHE Secretary, the cases coming out of areas within the last 14 days are the most relevant and the most important source to determine whether a location has a cluster.

Dr. Norman said the new cluster reporting system removes confusion by only showing the most current and accurate information which allows for better transparency within the agency.

“Essentially what it does is it has the most current and actionable information now, over these 14 days so the more time remote back in, we’ll say, April/May timeline has been lopped off and then we keep track of any case moving forward of course," he said. “As an example - a location might have 30 or 50 or 75 cases back in March and April, but still be considered active because they have had a hand full of cases trickling and hadn’t gone a full 28 days without a single case.”

Dr. Norman also said he would like to remind Kansans on the way the KDHE reports COVID-19 related deaths. He said Kansas physicians and health care providers are responsible for filling out death certificates which means they determine the cause of death, not the KDHE.

According to Dr. Norman, first a local health care provider gives their COVID-19 data to the KDHE who then puts it in EpiTrax. Next, he said the system then verifies the state COVID-19 numbers and is updated with death certificates. He said death certificates are the final step to certifying how accurate the state numbers are.

For more information on the KDHE COVID-19 dashboard, click here.

Sept. 23, 2:33 p.m.

Dr. Lee Norman holds COVID-19 news conference

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman will hold a COVID-19 news conference on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 4 p.m.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says its Secretary, Dr. Lee Norman, will hold a news conference on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 4 p.m. where he is expected to discuss COVID-19 and clusters.

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