On April 23, Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health inadvertently exposed more than 35,000 coronavirus test results, including for “congregate” facilities on its website where it routinely updated public data sets about coronavirus cases, deaths, and other information. Those records did not include any names or personally identifiable information of tested individuals, and were closed off hours later. The records did name the facility, the date of each test, and whether the result was negative or positive. In interviews with Inquirer reporters over the last several days, the department’s chief epidemiologist and commissioner explained the data, including its limitations. They also provided other data for context. Before publication, The Inquirer also shared with them its own analyses of these unique records for feedback. The city noted that the data were not final and may have discrepancies. To that end, in some instances nursing home operators told reporters the city data didn’t match their own records of positive test results at their facilities. For example, a Chapel Manor official said its records showed 126 confirmed cases at a time when city records showed only 76, a significant undercount. At Immaculate Mary, an official said the health department’s total of 71 was inaccurate: The former archdiocesan home had only 53 confirmed cases on April 24.
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