Why you might see different numbers of COVID-19 cases depending where you look

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Monday, March 23, 2020
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You might have noticed over the last couple weeks that the number of novel coronavirus cases in North Carolina varies depending on where you look.

That's because different news outlets are handling the case count in different ways.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services releases new numbers every morning. However, those numbers aren't always up-to-date with the county-by-county reporting.

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And since we only get the NCDHHS numbers in the morning, the cases we learn about in the afternoon aren't reflected on the department's official map.

ABC11 has decided to only use the official NCDHHS numbers when we talk about state totals. While we, of course, want to have the most up-to-date information, we also want to make sure we're being accurate. And since NCDHHS and most counties aren't releasing specific information about each case, we wouldn't be able to tally up the numbers ourselves and still be sure that some cases weren't being double counted.

We are still making sure to update our story each day to account for new cases we learn about (usually released at a county level), we're just not adding them to the total number (until the official state numbers are released the next morning).

While we realize seeing different numbers reported on different outlets can be confusing and frustrating, we believe now more than ever it's important to be accurate above anything else.

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