RICHMOND, Va. – Starting Thursday, the Virginia Dept. of Health will be reporting testing data broken down by antibody tests and PCR tests, also known as diagnostic tests.
According to the health department, antibody tests make up less than 9% of overall tests and when they are removed from total test results, the change in the percentage of positive tests is minimal and has had no difference on overall trends.
VDH cites the change in reporting to an increase in the number of antibody tests over the past three weeks.
A case is confirmed only when there is a positive PCR (diagnostic) test, according to VDH. The health department says that one of the goals of monitoring ‘testing encounters’, which is a term used to describe the total number of tests administered, is to measure the capacity of the state’s healthcare system to perform coronavirus testing.
Gov. Northam tweeted about the change, saying he asked for the change once he found out that all tests were being combined when reported.
.@VDHgov has been reporting all tests, regardless of the type of test, since the beginning of this health crisis. When I found out recently that data from all types of tests were being combined, I immediately directed that the diagnostic tests be separated out.— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) May 14, 2020