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Gov. Kemp, public health commissioner address concerns about data missteps

The Georgia Department of Public Health has come under fire for errors in data collection and presentation. Officials said they are committed to transparency.

ATLANTA — Georgia's leadership is assuring the public that they are committed to transparency and owning up to past errors when it comes to the entry of the state's coronavirus data.

"I have said from the very beginning that we are making decisions based on data, science and the advice of pubic health officials like Dr. (Kathleen) Toomey," Gov. Brian Kemp said during a news conference Thursday updating the state on the fight against the coronavirus.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has come under fire for missing data points, errors in dates on graphs, and for lumping the number for both antibody and antigen tests conducted under one total - something the previously said they weren't doing. 

Critics have said the mistakes can undermine public trust and cause leaders to make decisions based on faulty data - something both Kemp and Public Health Director Dr. Toomey said they want to avoid.

"We are committed to full transparency and honesty as we weather this health care crisis," Kemp promised. "Families, businesses, local leaders and the press deserve accurate data, and I know Dr. Toomey's team is working around the clock to collect, sort and produce that information."

Toomey said her team is taking in massive amounts of data from multiple sources across the state for a disease - and technology - that is constantly evolving, making it tricky to keep up.

But, she assured, "the integrity of our data is absolutely our number one priority," she said. 

Toomey said they are continuing to improve the state's reporting systems, which has caused some reporting errors in the past. But, she and Kemp both said that they are trying to be as transparent as possible when those errors occur. 

"We have to have transparency," Toomey said. "This is a time that we need the public's trust, and we have a strong commitment throughout our department."

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

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