A couple of weeks ago the Ontario Government ordered all local Health Units to use the same COVID reporting system. Prior to that there were two systems in play and the result was inconsistent reporting and the need to issue corrections. It appears there are still some issues with the reporting and the Hamilton Public Health Unit issues a statement today outlining changes they will be making to ensure better accuracy.
On August 20, 2020, City of Hamilton Public Health Services transitioned its system for COVID-19 case and contact management and tracing to the new Ministry of Health mandated Case and Contact Management (CCM) system. This change was designed to provide public health units with integrated, timely lab records, more streamlined workflows, central resource capacity support, simplified provincial surveillance and reporting, as well as the elimination of duplicate efforts.
Since this transition, as often happens with database transitions and new technology, it is taking some time to complete full implementation including identification and correction of issues. While Public Health Services had anticipated that these issues would be resolved, at this point we are continuing to need to use manual methods for some data management.
As a result, Public Health Services will be implementing some changes to publishing of data, effective immediately, to help ensure consistency and allow for the longer time periods required for manual review of data.
The most significant change will result in a 48-hour delay in reporting daily case counts, deaths, exposure acquisition, sex, age, and severity. For example, cases that are initially reported to Public Health on Monday will be published on the website by Wednesday of that same week. Please note that exposure acquisitions will temporarily be removed from the website while we work through determining best process to report on these factors. We understand this information is important to the public and it will be reposted as soon as possible.
These process changes will help us to ensure the public has access to the most up to date and complete information possible, which is a critical element in our successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.