Report: COVID-19 testing numbers inflated by collection error

The Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey confirmed Wednesday that the state’s COVID-19 testing numbers had been inflated by 57,000, or roughly 14 percent of the tests to date.

According to reporting by the AJC, the state’s Department of Public Health has been including antibody tests, which can detect if someone once had the coronavirus, with tests for active infections.

The DHP’s inclusion of antibody tests, which was first reported by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, prompted Gov. Brian Kemp’s office to request that the department remove antibody tests from the state’s totals.

Toomey said she was unaware that so many antibody tests had been included, and said “it’s not really an error. It’s a way it was collected. I didn’t fully appreciate how many antibody tests have been done.”

Georgia has been under scrutiny and ridiculed for its continued errors in in reporting COVID-19 cases to the public. Kemp had trumpeted Georgia’s rise in testing capacity to number 20 in the nation, but the removal of the antibody tests dropped Georgia back to 29th

The latest DHP numbers show nearly 40,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia with the death toll at 1,697.