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Why New York State, local counties often disagree on number of coronavirus cases

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(WBNG) -- Every day local counties release an update on how many confirmed cases there are in an area, but how the counties arrive at that number is a long process.

The Broome County Health Department says it uses a state database to find all of the positive tests reported. From there, it uses its own criteria to determine how many cases there are in the county.

However, because New York State doesn't necessarily use the same criteria, it often reports a different number than the county.

"How the state derives their numbers or when they update them, I'm not sure," says Rebecca Kaufman, the director of the Broome County Health Department.

Kaufman says the county uses two criteria to determine if it should report a confirmed case in Broome County: the person has to be a resident of the county, and has to physically be in the county to be counted.

This means if someone tests positive in another location but is a resident of Broome County, the health department doesn't count it, or if they test positive here but don't live here, it isn't counted either.

"If you haven't been in Broome County for 6 months, I don't think it should count as a Broome County case," Kaufman says. "We'll find out they actually live in Tioga, or Chenango, so then we're sending the lab to those counties."

Josh Rosenblatt

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