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The discrepancy between the county and state reports of COVID-19 cases and deaths is confusing to the public.

On April 7, we reported 11 deaths at Bethany Pointe Health Campus in Anderson, while reporting that the county had reported only nine deaths total. Since then, the calls have been coming asking us to explain the discrepancy, which we have attempted to do with varying degrees of success.

The discrepancy is partially due to the lag between the time statistics were compiled for the state’s 24-hour daily coronavirus update and news of additional coronavirus deaths on the same day. In our daily update, we explain that the statistics are reported from the county each morning. More cases may have emerged between then and press time.

The Madison County Health Department attributes deaths to the new coronavirus only in cases where the virus is listed as the cause on a death certificate, while in some cases state officials have attributed deaths to COVID-19 when the deceased was never tested for COVID-19 but was exposed or exhibited symptoms.

This statistical disagreement erodes the public’s confidence in both sources and, to some degree, the newspaper.

County and state officials should get on the same page and end the confusion.

In uncertain times, people need information they can trust. We ask the state and county governments to join us in doubling down to bring people the most accurate and current information possible to help guide us through this pandemic.

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