APH to start calculating recovered COVID-19 cases based on DSHS criteria

Coronavirus

FILE – In this April 10, 2020, file image made from video, a lab technician dips a sample into the Abbott Laboratories ID Now testing machine at the Detroit Health Center in Detroit. Federal health officials are warning about potential accuracy problems with the rapid test for COVID-19 used at thousands of hospitals, clinics and testing sites across the U.S., including the White House. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health will start calculating the number of estimated cases that recovered from COVID-19 using new criteria developed by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The DSHS calculates the number of recovered cases by:

  1. Including total confirmed cases
  2. Removing any fatalities
  3. Estimating that approximately 20% of remaining cases required hospitalization and around 80% of remaining cases did not receive hospitalization (based on published study of trends in China)
  4. Estimating that recovery time for hospitalized patients is approximately 32 days, and recovery time for non-hospitalized patients is approximately 14 days

Based on these DSHS calculations the estimated number of people who recovered from the coronavirus will grow as compared to what APH was previously reporting. Before this change, the number of recoveries on APH’s dashboard were tallied based on “reported” recoveries.

Sometimes lags in data can be caused by the time-consuming work of case investigation. This can result in an epidemiologist contacting a patient who would still be experiencing symptoms and therefore not classified as recovered at that time.

The goal with the new recovery estimate is that a more accurate number for recovered patients can be presented.

“This approach will align us with DSHS reporting,” APH Chief Epidemiologist Janet Pichette said. “It’ll provide a much better idea of the cases that have recovered in our community.”

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