Missouri data show that when testing increases, the positive rate decreases. When testing drops, the percentage of positive tests returns
ST. LOUIS – The week of Aug. 2, Missouri had 7,194 new cases of COVID-19.
The week of August 9, the state saw a weekly number of 7,945.
While the number of cases has increased by less than 800 cases, the state’s positivity rate has fallen from 12.85% to 9.61%.
Because during the week of August 2, 55,995 Missourians were tested. The following week, that number jumped to 82,701
In fact, during the week of August 16, cases dropped to 7,860, but the degree of positivity for Missouri jumped to 11.35%.
In the week of Aug. 16, the number of Missourians tested dropped by nearly 13,000.
The degree of positivity matters.
States use it to determine which passengers should spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival.
State and local authorities use it as a factor when determining where and when to remove or tighten restrictions.
The degree of positivity was one of the factors used by the St. Louis County executive when restricting youth sports, which has since sparked outrage and numerous protests from players who want to play and their parents.
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But at this point in the pandemic, how reliable is the degree of positivity?
There is a negative relationship between the degree of positivity and the speed of testing.
Missouri data show that when testing increases, the positive rate decreases. When testing drops, the percentage of positive tests returns.
Dr Alex Garza, who heads the St. Louis Pandemic Task Force, said the testing capacity in the St. Louis area was doing well. He said local facilities have the equipment and staff to meet testing needs, so testing fluctuations come from elsewhere.
“What we’ve seen is lower demand for tests,” Garza said. “So, there aren’t that many people who sign up to get tested. Indeed, the best way to do testing is if you can test the entire population, but of course we can’t do that, so we have to take it with a little bit of salt. “
Because the degree of positivity depends heavily on people, most people who feel sick or know they have been exposed to testing are placed more focused on hospitalization data.
“It’s a good indicator of what’s going on in the community,” Garza said. “It doesn’t depend on how many tests are done. It depends on who is most affected.”
Hospitalizations in St. Louis are declining.
However, even when considering the degree of positivity, it is important that the rate in St. Louis County is 5.8%, which is less than half the state percentage and lower than the 6.62% positivity rate in St. Louis County. St. Charles County, where high school athletes are allowed to play.
Dr Garza said that while data was a decision-making factor, there had also been much discussion about which activities were considered high-risk, including youth sports. Although he said his team measured different factors than some of which were used to create different rules and regulations, he said decision-making during a pandemic was complex and far from black and white.
“This is brand new,” Garza said. “We learn. The more we learn, the better we can make recommendations.”