The Dutchess County Health Commissioner explained on Thursday why she believes the positivity rate for COVID cases no longer matters.

In a video address to the County, Dr. Livia Santiago-Rosado discussed the different metrics that Dutchess County uses to determine the current status of COVID infections. Up until now the most important number has been the positivity rate. This number shows what percentage of people who tested for COVID-19 were actually determined to contract the virus.

This number has been very helpful throughout the pandemic in deciding what actions to take in regards to reopening. As positivity rates rose, steps were taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Over the summer, as the number fell, more restrictions were relaxed.

Now, the health commissioner says that the positivity rate data is no longer helpful because she believes it is "skewed." The doctor explains that after handing out thousands of at-home COVID tests, it's no longer possible to know exactly how many people tested negative. The commissioner claims that residents are only reporting positive results, not negatives.

It's unclear how many people who test positive are also not reporting their results, but the doctor says she will be following a different metric moving forward.

Instead of the positivity rate of tests, Dutchess County will now be reporting the number of positive cases per 100,000 residents. The commissioner says that number is much more stable, and will be a better tool in understanding the current status of COVID infections.

You can see Dr. Livia Santiago-Rosado's full explanation below.


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