The City and County of San Francisco announced today local data reporting impacts due to system delays at the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) electronic disease reporting system, known as the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange or CalREDIE. The CDPH recently discovered an underreporting of COVID-19 tests and cases due to technology issues with this electronic laboratory reporting system which transfers testing data and case reports to counties across the state.
The CDPH is directing all laboratories to report their positive results directly to county health departments until this issue is resolved. San Francisco had already issued a Health Order in March directing all laboratories conducting COVID-19 diagnostic tests on San Francisco residents or in San Francisco to report COVID-19 test results – positive, negative and inconclusive – to the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).
As a result, San Francisco’s COVID-19 positivity rate, case investigation and contact tracing may be less affected by the CalREDIE issues, compared to other counties, however, there is still an impact because many laboratories report to SFDPH through the CalREDIE system.
How this delay affects San Francisco
The City will pause providing updated data on testing, cases, contact tracing metrics and associated Key Public Health Indicators until the statewide issue is resolved. While the Key Public Health Indicators will be paused, all data and dashboards on San Francisco’s COVID-19 Data Tracker will continue to update. The data tracker will note that tests and cases are currently underreported. At this time, San Francisco officials cannot estimate a timeframe for resumption.
The State’s technology issue is also impacting the City’s ability to conduct prompt case investigation and contact tracing. While San Francisco has one of the most robust contact tracing systems in the state, the data issues and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in San Francisco and in California are contributing to case investigators and contact tracers reaching fewer people.
Individual testing results are unaffected
It is important to note that these data issues are interrupting the transmission of information to health departments, not to patients. People tested for COVID-19 are continuing to receive their laboratory results. Those who are informed that they are positive for COVID-19 should consult their healthcare provider, isolate and alert their close contacts that they have been exposed. Both the individual and close contacts should quarantine in accordance with the recently updated SFDPH directives on Isolation and Quarantine.
Continue to stop the spread
The delay in the State’s system may give an impression that COVID-19 cases are slowing down, when this may not be the case. It is more important than ever that residents do everything they can to slow the transmission of the virus, by: