A technical glitch in the state’s COVID-19 date reporting system, CalREDIE, could be resulting in a widespread underreporting of cases in the state and Berkeley.

The state public health department announced the issue on Tuesday, saying it affects positive case counts, but not deaths and hospitalizations, which are reported through a different system. Patients are still receiving their results, but the rates are not being entered properly into the state database. The state has not identified the extent of the underreporting.

Berkeley and counties throughout the Bay Area began putting up disclaimers on their data portals earlier this week, and local public health officials are concerned that they are unable to grasp the extent of COVID-19 spread in their communities.

Berkeleyside has been updating its local and statewide data tracker daily, and numbers show a gradual increase in deaths countywide, but a downward trend in the amount of cases reported each day. Berkeley reported a peak of 21 cases on July 2, but this number has this week dropped off to eight or fewer each day.

Berkeley had 422 cases as of Friday and reported a fourth death this week, but county data indicates the fourth person died last week. The city is not releasing further information about deaths, such as whether the death happened in Berkeley, due to privacy concerns.

In a message this week, the city also referenced a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says positive cases may be only a fraction COVID-19 cases in the community. Local officials are reiterating the message to stay home if you feel sick, and have acknowledged ongoing delays in obtaining test results.

COVID-19 Data from the by-the-numbers tracker
Data from our COVID-19 numbers tracker shows a gradual decrease in daily cases over the last two weeks, but local public health officials are concerned these numbers may be inaccurate.

Supriya Yelimeli is a housing and homelessness reporter for Berkeleyside and joined the staff in May 2020 after contributing reporting since 2018 as a freelance writer. Yelimeli grew up in Fremont and...