The Virginia Department of Health resolved an issue with local COVID-19 test results over the weekend, resulting in large increases in the number of tests the Lord Fairfax Health District can report.
On Friday, a day before the issue was resolved, the district reported it had completed 3,084 tests since the beginning of the pandemic in early March.
On Sunday, that figure jumped to 9,992, in large part due to 6,414 tests that had been completed but not linked to the district.
The district encompasses the city of Winchester and the counties of Frederick, Clarke, Page, Shenandoah and Warren.
The change linked 37,362 tests to local health districts throughout the state.
Overall state figures were not impacted because the total tests were already included in statewide figures but were not linked to local health districts in particular.
Late Friday evening, the VDH reported that incomplete information taken from people receiving tests led to the unreported tests linked to local districts.
Because most tests are sent to the state lab for processing, if health officials at the lab do not have complete address information the tests are only included in the state’s aggregate data.
The VDH rolled out reporting figures by ZIP code at the beginning of May and have been adjusting to the added pressure the new reporting puts on the department.
Over the weekend, the department announced it will begin reporting ZIP code level information in a “tiered” approach.
If a test has incomplete information, such as no ZIP code for the patient, the test will be attributed to “ordering provider’s” ZIP code, according to the VDH site.
If no ZIP code is provided at all — for the patient or whoever administered the test — the test will be attributed to the testing laboratory’s ZIP code.
With the improved reporting numbers, the Lord Fairfax Health District’s test positivity rate fell from more than 23% to 15.1%.
Virginia has returned results on 313,283 COVID-19 detection tests and its positivity rate continues to fall.
The state’s seven-day average positivity rate dropped to 12.4% Sunday, inching closer to the 10% threshold health officials are saying is required for the state to enter phase two of reopening.