Uncounted COVID-19 cases in Austin area hospitals trigger data adjustment by Austin Public Health

Hospital intensive care unit
By Talk 1370

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Discrepancies in hospital data have prompted Austin Public Health officials to revise new hospital admissions data, a key metric local leaders have been watching as the coronavirus continues to spread locally.

After the data adjustment, which affected data going back to June 23, the 7-day moving average of new hospitalizations is now at 74.9. Yesterday, it was just over 64.

"Previous data sets did not retroactively adjust new hospital admissions for patients who were admitted to the hospital but did not receive a positive COVID-19 test result until after their initial admission date," officials said in a statement. "Our updated data corrects for these discrepancies, putting us at 74.9 for the 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions per day, which is reflected in the COVID-19 dashboard and the Key Indicators dashboard."

Crossing the threshold of 70 could potentially trigger Stage 5 of Austin Public Health's risk-based guidelines, although officials say the exact trigger can vary depending on how rapidly hospitalizations are increasing. "We are currently evaluating the impact of passing the threshold of 70 as well as updated modeling and secondary indicators, such as doubling times of cases, hospitalizations, and ICU patients, to make a final determination of the stage of risk for the City of Austin and Travis County later this week," officials said in a statement.

Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority for Austin-Travis County, touched on the revised data during a briefing to the Travis County Commissioners Court Tuesday morning.

Local officials have indicated further restrictions would be needed at stage 5, including limiting business to "essential" businesses only. Austin Mayor Steve Adler has proposed a 35-day shutdown, scaling back to restrictions that were in place in March and early April, and the City Council is set to discuss two potential ordinances Thursday that would strengthen the city's ability to enforce COVID-19 health guidelines.