- Department of Public Health
Media Contact for State Public Health Lab to Upgrade Data System August 22-23 to Expand Testing Collection Capacity
Ann Scales, Director of Media Relations
BOSTON — In anticipation of increased COVID-19 testing volumes linked to expanded testing at Massachusetts colleges and universities this fall, the Department of Public Health (DPH) will be making a long-planned transition of its electronic laboratory reporting system to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud on August 22, a move that will greatly increase the state’s public health data collection capacity.
The migration to the cloud requires a temporary interruption of laboratory data reporting to DPH. This means that on Saturday, August 22, DPH will publish a dashboard based on data received by 5 PM Friday, instead of by 8 am Saturday. As a result, it should be noted that Saturday’s report could reflect lower numbers of individual tests, total tests, new cases, and deaths. Hospitalization numbers will not be impacted. No dashboard will be published on Sunday, August 23.
DPH expects laboratory data to have resumed to its normal flow by Monday, August 24, when the daily COVID-19 dashboard posting will resume. All laboratory results from the weekend will be displayed on the Monday dashboard report and will be appropriately assigned to their respective test dates, as usual.
“This system migration and capacity upgrade has been planned for many months for enhanced stability and security of our systems and to accommodate the recent and expected growth in COVID-19 test volumes,” said Kevin Cranston, DPH Assistant Commissioner and Director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences. “It is particularly critical that we make the move now to manage the testing of thousands of college and university students starting soon.”
The migration to the cloud is a needed upgrade that will result in several system improvements including:
- Increasing the current daily volume of test results processed from 25K test results to 100K
- Incorporating an electronic Quality Assurance dashboard to monitor data flow and errors, a process currently done manually
- Providing additional capacity on the server, making more data report enhancements possible
The data system upgrade is part of the plans for extensive infrastructure renovations at the State Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain and IT improvements made possible by recent federal COVID-19 testing resources.