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CMRO and Pitt-Greensburg Report Different COVID-19 Case Counts

by Madison Jarnot

Photo via greensburg.pitt.edu.

This semester, the number of COVID-19 cases reported by Pitt-Greensburg varied from the statistics reported by the COVID-19 Medical Response Office (CMRO). 

Pitt-Greensburg President Dr. Robert Gregerson said in an email on Feb. 21 that there were a total of 89 student cases on campus. However, according to the CMRO, there were a total of 129 student cases by Feb. 24, which is 48 cases more than Dr. Gregerson’s email from three days prior.

It is unclear how this discrepancy occurred. In an email to The Insider, Dr. Gregerson said that he is “confident” in the data reported by Pitt-Greensburg.

“We collect the student data here on the Greensburg campus and report them to the main campus, so we have the primary data,” Dr. Gregerson said. “I am therefore confident in the case numbers that we have been reporting to students and employees. At this point, I could only speculate why there is a discrepancy after the data leaves our control, but that wouldn’t be helpful without direct knowledge.”

However, according to the CMRO, their data is correct, and the data reported individually by Dr. Gregerson is incorrect. Kate Brownlee, director of operations at the office of emerging technologies in Health Science education and a project manager at the CMRO, said that the error was likely due to miscounting incoming students’ Quest test results in January. 

“It appears that the discrepancy occurred when accounting for positive tests received during students arrival at the start of the term,” Brownlee said. “During that arrival process we had an influx of testing results from Quest, as students were conducting both pre-travel and post-arrival testing, and we believe some of the Quest results were inadvertently not included in Greensburg’s case count reports. The COVID-19 Medical Response Office (CMRO) data, as provided in its weekly messages, is correct.”

The CMRO is currently investigating the inconsistency, and Dr. Gregerson has stated that the campus will update their statistics if necessary. 

“If we have underreported, that will definitely be corrected,” Dr. Gregerson said. “No one wants to present inaccurate data to the students or employees. In hindsight, I think that perhaps having two separate entities counting and reporting case numbers wasn’t the most efficient. However, I am incredibly proud of the way our campus responded to the pandemic, with this aspect–testing and sharing results being one part of that overall response.”

The Insider will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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