State: Hundreds of newly reported COVID cases are not new

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Health officials say people should not be alarmed by what may appear to be a spike in new coronavirus cases today in Louisiana, on the eve of starting Phase One of reopening.

The state today added 827 cases to the COVID-19 count, but the governor's office says more than 600 of those date back weeks or months.

"Do not despair, only 218 cases are new," Christina Stephens in the governor's office said on Twitter. "The majority are from new labs reporting... for the first time."

She added, "Some of that data goes back to March."

Assistant State Health Officer Dr. Joe Kanter says with testing becoming more widespread, not every test result is set up to be sent directly to the state.

"A lot more labs are doing COVID testing than we normally interact with," he explained. "And as these rapid tests become more available, doctors offices are doing these rapid tests, but those don't get sent through an electronic system."

As a result he says there will be "data dumps."

Stephens assured people who expressed some concern on social media that the results were only delayed getting to the state, not the patients.

"The tests were processed in real time. The people were notified of their results. This is merely a reporting delay to the state." 

The Louisiana Department of Health recorded 36 more COVID-19 deaths today for a total of 2,351.

The number of hospitalizations in the state decreased by one today to 1,193.