Letter to the editor: Hospital, health officials must release better data
On April 1, the Summit Daily News published a story titled, “Summit County reports 8 new coronavirus cases, 34 in total.” The story noted “a total of 27 individuals have been hospitalized since the first case arrived … March 5.”
So, 27 coronavirus sufferers hospitalized. Clear enough. Then came these these two sentences:
- “That number includes individuals who were admitted with COVID-19 symptoms but tested negative.”
- “Neither the hospital nor public health officials have released the current number of individuals hospitalized with symptoms.”
So, the actual number of coronavirus hospitalizations is not 27. It is fewer than 27, maybe far fewer. We can’t find out. Neither the hospital nor Summit County officials will say. And they won’t even say how many are hospitalized right now.
These gaps are not trivial. Together, they make it impossible to know how much stress the virus is actually placing on St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. We know it’s not 27 hospitalizations, but what is it? How many have been released?
Recall that the primary justification for stay-at-home orders and business closures is a need for “flattening the curve” of COVID-19 infections so as to prevent a tsunami of hospital admissions. Are we succeeding or not?
This is a terribly important matter to clear up. Until we know how St. Anthony’s is actually doing, we cannot know whether we are getting closer to a reopening of our local businesses or further away.
This blackout is not the fault of the Summit Daily. I am persuaded that staff has been pushing to get this information. It seems they are running up against a brick wall of bureaucracy.
Fortunately, this is not a hard-to-fix problem. Summit County and hospital officials, please just provide the numbers. Or tell us why you won’t.
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