Coronavirus: West Midlands laboratory wrongly reports total case numbers

Small print on the Government’s coronavirus data website confirmed an NHS laboratory in the West Midlands reported a data-set incorrectly.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Coventry dropped over the weekend after one West Midlands laboratory incorrectly reported a group of test results to the national data-set as positive.

On 28 May, the government reported 16,863 total confirmed cases of coronavirus in the West Midlands, but that number dropped to 16,164 on 30 May.

Small print on the Government’s coronavirus data website confirmed that they had misreported the total number of cases for several cities in the West Midlands after an NHS laboratory reported a data-set incorrectly.

The note read: “It has been identified that a group of test results from the previous two months, from a single NHS laboratory, were incorrectly reported to the national data-set as positive.

“Only a small proportion (<1%) of cases has been removed from the cumulative England total, but for some areas in the West Midlands, the proportions of cases removed will be greater.”

In England, laboratories submit test results to Public Health England through an online system that stores the data in a central database, allowing it to be collated and accurately reported.

Hundreds of cases were misreported as positive in the government’s collation of total case numbers.

It is believed that the error was limited to data reporting only and that no patients were given a false-positive result.

It is not known which laboratory was responsible for the mistaken reporting, with one national newspaper who have contacted the Department for Health and Social Care saying they are yet to respond.