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DOH changes how it reports COVID-19 cases in kids after ABC Action News investigation

Posted at 6:44 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 19:37:52-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has now changed the way it reports COVID-19 cases in kids after an ABC Action News investigation.

All eyes are now on case data when it comes to kids with COVID-19 now that the first day of school in most local districts is in the books.

“I can definitely understand parents feeling like they would want to review that data,” said Dr. Lisa Cronin, a general pediatrician at Children’s Medical Center. “I personally as a parent — that’s something that I pay attention to as well.”

From the start of the pandemic, DOH was reporting COVID-19 cases in kids on its website cumulatively.

“This table had for each county in Florida, the cumulative number of children that were tested, the cumulative number of people who tested positive or what we would call cases, the number that were negative and then the case positivity rate,” said Jason Salemi, an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at USF.

But more than a week ago — that suddenly changed with cases being reported in two-week increments.

“I kind of understand why they made that decision,” said Salemi. “If you have a 40% case positivity rate in children in the last two weeks, it might be diluted in a cumulative table."

But it also means people couldn't calculate with 100% accuracy the number of new cases per day since you can’t tell how many cases are two weeks old and how many happened yesterday.

After our investigation into the website change, the data was reverted back. DOH hasn't provided a response about it.

“We’re all kind of learning together how to communicate this information and what needs to be communicated when it needs to be communicated, how it needs to be communicated,” said Dr. Cronin.

As of today — the state has a total of 247 near pediatric COVID-19 cases.

Pediatric data per county for August 23rd:

  • Hillsborough: 9 new cases since yesterday
  • Pinellas: 5
  • Manatee: 5
  • Polk: 7
  • Pasco: 0

For daily Pediatric Data, click here.

Over the weekend, the State also started posting data on kids with COVID in schools across the state.

For statewide school reports, click here. Once you're on the main page, click "Last Modified" twice to reveal the latest PDF files.

State Wide school reports, as of August 23:

  • 11 new cases in daycares
  • 37 new cases in schools state-wide
  • 6 new cases in colleges and universities