LAKE MARY, Fla. - FOX 35 has spent several days digging into COVID-19 data reported by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). Our investigation has revealed discrepancies in how positivity percentages are being reported.
FOX 35 News discovered that several labs around Florida have reported 100% positivity, meaning every single person who took a coronavirus test was positive. We knew that seemed highly unlikely, so we dug deeper.
For example, Orlando Health could confirm errors in the state's reporting, saying its positivity rate is only 9.4% and not 98% shown on the state's COVID report.
FOX 35 INVESTIGATES: FDOH says some labs have not reported negative COVID-19 results
The FDOH told FOX 35 News it would start looking into the issue. Then, several other hospitals -- including Lee Memorial in Fort Myers -- came forward with concerns.
Laboratories we spoke to said they were only following the instructions from the state to report only positive cases.
On Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis tried to clear up the confusion.
"The law requires for a reportable illness that if someone tests positive, it's reported. That's sort of the underlying law. We then said, I think in one of my executive orders, report the negatives too, and that's how we look to see percent positive and try to evaluate," DeSantis said. "There were a number of labs who were just doing kind of what the default is, which is sending the positives only without sending the negatives," DeSantis said.
FOX 35 INVESTIGATES: Labs directed to only report positive COVID-19 tests
Despite the confusion, the governor says other factors must be weighed.
"We're doing now 90,000 tests a day, so these things are being put in and it's a huge amount of volume, and so we understand some of the labs, it doesn't always get reported soon."