Gov. Beshear criticizes Fayette County backlog in reporting COVID-19 numbers

Posted at 10:38 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 23:18:10-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Andy Beshear criticized the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department Wednesday after over 1,400 COVID-19 cases were reported to the state as the result of a data entry backlog.

At his briefing Wednesday, the governor reported 2,398 new cases of coronavirus, but said 1,472 cases were the result of a backlog of about or month or so out of Fayette County.

"How did it happen? It's really simple," Gov. Beshear began. "They weren't getting the data into the system to report to the state and they knew they had it and it wasn't getting done."

But Lexington-Fayette County Health Department Communications Officer Kevin Hall said the backlog was the result of staff having to prioritize stopping the spread of COVID-19.

"We were using one system and the state and federal leaders were using a different system," he said. "We have since started using that one, but it was still trying to catch up doing double the data entry."

Hall said that the county's data on its website has always been up to date and there has never been a lag in contacting people who test positive within the county.

"It was only a data entry delay. The people of Lexington who have tested positive and their close contacts were all being contacted within the appropriate response time," he said.

Staff from the state as well as new hires within the county have helped to get the health department caught up with reporting cases to the state.

"We're hiring more people. We're getting that data caught up and there should be a significant decrease in that backlog," Hall said.

The governor also criticized the county for being the last health department in the commonwealth to use the state's contact tracing software.

Hall said the health department plans to make the switch to the state software within the next couple months.

"It's not something you can just snap your fingers and do," he said. "There's software issues, there's hardware issues and then you have to train people to make sure that it's done properly."

Despite the backlog in reporting cases to the states, Hall said Fayette County residents have always had access to accurate case numbers from the health department.