Bad news about the COVID-19 epidemic in Puerto Rico hit this morning like a bucket of cold water: the Health Department had been incorrectly reporting data on infections on the island for the past four weeks. Health Secretary Lorenzo González acknowledged today to the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) that the agency has been mixing the results of molecular tests, which confirm that a person has the virus, with results of serological tests or “rapid test kits,” which should not be used to inform infection status, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The implications: There has been a double, perhaps even a triple count of test results in Puerto Rico’s official COVID-19 statistics. For example, a person who tested positive on the rapid test and then had a molecular or “PCR” test confirming that positive, it can be counted as two separate cases in the numbers reported by the Government.
The CPI asked if the current number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico has a double or even triple count.