Monitoring COVID-19 statistics has become part of the daily routine for a large portion of the global population. A marked increase in numbers can inform the decision for parents to keep their child out of school, just as steadily sinking numbers might lead some to finally venture out to a cafe for the first time in months. Some states have experienced sharp upticks in unreliable data, such as Florida’s recent 7,000-case increase in one day due to a stale data dump, or California’s error that prevented that prevented 300,000 cases from being uploaded into the database.
The California Reportable Disease Information Exchange has been ousted to be replaced with a program designed by OptumInsight. The new database will handle all of California’s COVID-19 testing results going forward. This is no small task, considering the state has nearly 40 million permanent residents, most of whom are packed into its large coastal cities.
The CA Department of Public Health signed a six-month contract with OptumInsight valuing $15.3 million, most of which was derived from federal grant funds. The new data system will not merely be a depository for positive and negative test results. Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services director is confident that OptumInsight’s system will be robust enough to offer clearer insights into the spread of the disease.
“Hopefully we close some of the information gaps that we have on demographic information,” Ghaly said. “Really enhancing the state’s ability to not just see where transmission is happening, but to understand some of the more detailed, nuanced pieces.”
The system will collect data from the state’s COVID cases, which currently are in excess of 700,000, including 13,000 deaths. More accurate tracking will help preserve the health and wellness of Californians, as well as the millions of visitors who come in and out of the state each year.