KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Missouri Democrats are responding to reports that the state used data from two separate forms of coronavirus testing and reported it in a way that made it appear the state had a lower percentage of positive cases.
The Department of Health & Senior Services made an announcement on Saturday, saying they were previously combining antibody test results with nasal swab results but are now going to separate the data.
Antibody tests, or serology tests, show whether a person has ever had SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. If someone tests positive, that means their immune system developed antibodies to try and fight it off.
A viral test, or PCR test, shows whether a person is actively infected with SARS-CoV-2 because it looks for viral RNA in someone's nose or throat.
On Friday, Missouri reported that about 6.5 percent of in-state tests had come back positive.
However, after separating out the two types of tests, the data showed that 8.3% of viral tests came back positive while only about 4% of antibody tests did.
In a press release, the Missouri Democratic Party criticized Governor Mike Parson's handling.
“The Parson administration has been caught red-handed trying to inflate their testing numbers — just two days after criticizing other states for doing the same thing,” said Missouri Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren Gepford. “The Parson administration has not been honest with Missourians about how much testing we are doing and need to do. The lack of transparency, incompetence, and false promises seriously undermine the credibility of the Governor and Dr. Williams and raise even more concerns about the state’s response to the pandemic.”
“The Governor calls on us as public servants to get better every day,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS, in Saturday's press release. “As we continue to learn more about this virus and new tests emerge, we will continue providing better data with greater clarity and transparency to help Missourians make the best decisions for their health care possible.”