Kentucky health cabinet reports discrepancy in recent CDC COVID transmission levels map

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — The state health cabinet says the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 map doesn’t align with data from its COVID-19 map and gave “spuriously” high community transmission levels.

In an email, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services says the CDC map pushed many Kentucky counties into moderate and high levels of transmission and that it was not an accurate depiction of transmission levels.

Health cabinet COVID epidemiologists say they found the CDC’s rates were “inappropriately high” and consulted with the CDC on the issue. Health cabinet officials say they were told the CDC experienced a processing error and added a footnote to its website with the correction — though it isn’t enough.

The footnote reads as follows:

“NOTE: October 28th, 2022: Due to a data processing error, case rates for Kentucky will appear higher than expected in the COVID Data Tracker release on October 27th, 2022. Therefore, the COVID-19 Community Levels and Community Transmission levels for Kentucky counties may be overestimated and should be interpreted with caution”

Health cabinet officials say the footnote is buried and that they “took the correct incidence rates for all counties and incorporated these with CDC’s COVID-19 hospitalization data to derive a corrected Community Levels map, which is posted on our website.”

The health cabinet says it expects the CDC to correct the issue in the next iteration, and if not, “we will strive to produce an accurate version again for Kentucky.”

ABC 36 reached out to the CDC for comment, which said in a statement:

“On October 27th, 2022 CDC identified a data processing issue with Kentucky’s weekly aggregate data report. As a byproduct, case rates for select counties in Kentucky were artificially elevated, CDC took immediate measures to footnote the discrepancy on COVID Data Tracker. CDC took additional corrective actions and the data processing issue was resolved by the next weekly report on November 3rd, 2022.”


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