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Why did the positivity rate decrease with the dashboard update?

The method used previously counted each individual once whether it was negative or positive. The numerator was the number of positives divided by the number of people tested. When someone is tested for the first time they are counted as a unique test. But if that first test is negative and they go back for additional tests, those subsequent tests would not be counted, because it is the same person and they have already been counted once. Counting people once is a good way to understand how prevalent the virus was in our community. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, this wasn’t an issue because testing was limited, and few people were taking more than one COVID-19 test. As retests (and thus repeat negatives) have become more common, this rate does not reflect the impacts of these high retests. 

The new method looks at the 14-day trend to get a measure of the virus in the community. In the original method, people were tested once and counted once then not again. In the current method, JCDHE is looking at the testing that is done in each 14-day period. So, if a person is tested negative several times in each 14-day period, they are counted as one individual in each of the 14-day periods. The numerator is the number of positive cases divided by the number of people tested in that 14-day period, it is not cumulative. 

Both the previous and new views of positivity percentages are on the dashboard because there are multiple ways of viewing this information. Our goal is to continually make adjustments to provide the public with the most accurate and up-to-date data, while offering a multitude of ways to view the information.