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Gov. Northam notes change in COVID-19 test data as VDH was reporting 'all tests, regardless of the type'

Northam sent out a series of tweets on Monday, explaining why a count change has been made.
Ralph Northam
Posted at 12:02 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 12:05:44-04

Governor Northam responded after the Virginia Department of Health separately reported testing data by PCR (diagnostic) and antibody (serology) tests for the first time on Thursday.

Antibody tests make up less than nine percent of overall tests, reports say. Health officials say that when these tests are removed from total results, there is minimal change in the percent positive of tests and no difference in overall trends.

Governor Ralph Northam sent out a series of tweets on Monday, explaining why this separation in data has been made.

One of the tweets read, "@VDHgov has been reporting all tests, regardless of the type of test, since the beginning of this health crisis. When I found out recently that data from all types of tests were being combined, I immediately directed that the diagnostic tests be separated out."

The VDH defines a case as confirmed when there is a positive PCR test. A goal in monitoring the number of testing encounters and the percent of COVID-19 tests that are positive is to gauge the capacity of the healthcare system to perform COVID-19 testing.

According to the VDH press release, it states that in the past three weeks the number of antibody tests being utilized has increased in Virginia. Due to this change, going forward the VDH will provide a breakdown of the COVID-19 test data by all test types and by only PCR tests.