Mon | Sep 20, 2021

Is the COVID positivity rate being correctly calculated?

Published:Wednesday | September 15, 2021 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

It seems to me that either we are being given incorrect information deliberately (which I very much doubt) or someone at the Ministry of Health and Wellness is not clear as to how the daily COVID-19 positivity rates are to be calculated.

I had noticed in the past what appeared to be discrepancies on numerous occasions, and so I decided to check the exact figures given on TVJ for Sunday, August 12.

It was stated that there were 594 new cases from 2,136 tests, or a positivity rate of 36.2 per cent. But this is completely wrong. If the number of new cases and the number of tests done are both accurate, then the positivity rate is in fact 27.8 per cent. That’s a huge difference of 8.4 per cent, assuming that the figures given on TVJ were correct.

There is only one way to calculate the positivity rate, and that is by dividing the number of new cases by the number of tests done, so in this case 594 divided by 2,136 = 27.8 per cent.

If anyone can tell me of any other formula for calculating the percentage rate, I would be happy to hear it.

The bottom line is that we must be given accurate figures at all times, not to scare us but to enlighten us.

PHILIP AZAR