(The Center Square) – There are questions about the numbers in Wisconsin’s coronavirus count.

The state’s Department of Health Services on Monday once again reported see-saw numbers when it comes to the number of people being treated in the hospital.

DHS said 250 people were hospitalized as of Monday afternoon. That’s a jump of almost 60 people in 24 hours. It is also the latest in what has been a series of up-and-down spikes. 

The moving number of hospitalizations also comes with a warning. DHS posted an explanation on its website the data regarding hospitalizations is likely to change. 

“Changes were made to the way hospitals report data by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), effective July 22. As adjustments are made to meet reporting requirements, data may appear different from expected,” DHS wrote. “We are working to make any disruption as short and minimal as possible.”

Those are, however, not the only changes to the state’s data. 

Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said under-reporting and late reporting from public health managers in Dane County have put Wisconsin’s coronavirus count under a cloud. 

“After the stunning revelation that Dane County had 17,000 unreported Covid-19 negative results that dramatically skewed the positivity rates in that county for at least three weeks, the public can no longer be assured that all state and local data is reliable without greater transparency and honesty from public health bureaucrats,” Nass said Monday. 

The new broke last week that Public Health Madison & Dane County, the capital city’s joint public health department, did not report its negative tests results dating back to at least July 10. 

Nass said Madison is Wisconsin’s second largest city, and a problem with the numbers there causes problems for the coronavirus numbers statewide. 

“There is no doubt in my mind that the state positivity rate and many local county positivity rates are skewed significantly higher by the backlogs in reporting negative results,” Nass said. “While the development of backlogs was not intentional, the decision by public health officials to stay quiet about the existence of the backlogs was clearly intentional and terribly inappropriate.”

Nass said DHS need to make it clear that the backlogs are affecting the numbers the department reports each day. 

There was no clarification with Monday’s report wherein DHS reported 590 positive tests and 6,356 negative tests. Wisconsin’s daily positive-test rate was at 8.5 percent. 

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.

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