The Virginia Department of Health says it has a running backlog of 13,000 COVID-19 test results that have not been reported to the public.
The agency also announced late Monday that it will add a different set of 13,000 backlogged tests to the public dashboard that includes Virginia’s COVID-19 data, which could appear to skew the data.
In a statement, VDH said a Richmond-area laboratory had been providing results via fax, which the agency had to manually log.
“VDH staff had prioritized positive test results, which means the remaining backlog largely includes negative tests. The lab is now submitting test results electronically,” the statement read.
The agency did not immediately respond to a request for the name of the laboratory.
VDH said the 13,000 faxed results represent just half of the agency’s total testing backlog.
Meanwhile, the department reported Tuesday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 51,738 — an increase of 487 from the 51,251 reported Monday.
As the overall number of positive COVID-19 test results in Virginia grows, data from the VDH coronavirus dashboard shows the percentage of positive results from testing is down. The seven-day average for percent of positive test results was at 8.9% as of Saturday, which is the most recent figure provided by the VDH on Tuesday. That’s down from a peak of 22.2% on April 19.
The 51,738 cases reported Tuesday include 49,362 confirmed cases and 2,376 probable cases. Also, there are 1,496 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia — 1,391 confirmed and 105 probable. There were 1,477 deaths reported Monday.
The VDH defines probable COVID-19 cases as people who are symptomatic with a known exposure to COVID-19, but whose cases have not been confirmed with a positive test.
VDH data shows most cases (80%) are occurring in adults between the ages of 20 and 69. The majority of deaths (76.4%) are among Virginians over the age of 70.
In the Richmond area, there are 6,106 cases: 2,146 in Henrico County, 1,942 in Chesterfield County, 1,667 in Richmond and 351 in Hanover County.
Also, the region has 222 deaths attributed to the virus: 134 in Henrico, 37 in Chesterfield, 27 in Richmond and 24 in Hanover.
Fairfax County, the state’s most populous locality with more than 1.1 million people, has the most cases with 12,695 and 416 deaths.
VDH said there are 401 outbreaks in the state, 227 in long-term care facilities. These facilities also account for 845 of the state’s deaths attributed to the virus.
State health officials have said there’s a lag in the reporting of statewide numbers on the VDH website.
Figures on the website might not include cases or deaths reported by localities or local health districts.