Health unit makes changes to COVID-19 case reporting

Health unit makes changes to COVID 19 case reporting

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The Brant County Health Unit is changing the way it reports local COVID-19 cases.

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Starting Monday, information on the health unit’s daily COVID-19 dashboard – found on its website – will look different in response to recent changes in provincial testing eligibility.

“Publicly funded PCR testing is now limited to symptomatic high-risk individuals and individuals who work in high-risk settings,” the health unit said in a news release. “This change came into effect on Dec. 31 and, as a result, positive cases confirmed by PCR testing will underestimate the true number of individuals with COVID-19 in the community.”

Changes on the health unit website will include:

  • Reporting of cases limited to “high-risk” cases, including health-care workers and those living in retirement residences.
  • Discontinued reporting of any variants of concern. As Omicron is the dominant variant and only a small number of PCR tests will be screened for Omicron.
  • Discontinuation of reporting cases by age, geography and transmission as high-risk cases only represent a segment of the population.
  • Differentiating between data from before and after the change in testing eligibility on all existing graphs for testing over time, as the time periods are not comparable.
  • Reporting of new outbreaks limited to high-risk settings, such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals and congregate living settings (shelters, lodging homes, group homes).

The health unit dashboard will continue to be updated at 11 am from Monday to Friday, except for statutory holidays. Numbers posted on Monday will include the COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend.