Let us look at the example of Loulé. In the March 20 report, ARS do Algarve confirmed the existence of two cases. The same on March 21 and 22. On March 23, the number of cases rose to three – and this Wednesday to seven. However, in the bulletin of the Directorate-General for Health published this Wednesday, Loulé still did not appear on the list of municipalities with confirmed cases.
A similar situation has occurred in Tavira, where since March 20 there has been a case confirmed by the Regional Health Administration, but which continued on Wednesday without appearing on the list of affected municipalities. In Vila Real de Santo António, the first case was confirmed by the ARS last Sunday, March 22, and there are currently three confirmed patients, but the county also continued on Wednesday without appearing on the DGS list.
The Algarve municipality with the biggest discrepancy is Faro. In the DGS report published on Wednesday, there is an indication that the municipality has nine confirmed cases. However, ARS reports show that the number of cases has been higher since last week. On March 20, there were already 10 cases confirmed by ARS in that county. There are currently 17, almost double the number released by DGS.
– DGS (@DGSaude) March 25, 2020
In the municipality of Portimão, the numbers of the two organizations do not add up either – and in this case there is another number yet to be explained. In the DGS Tuesday report, eight cases emerged; in Wednesday’s report, however, that number dropped to seven. Given that these are cumulative numbers, the number could never go down. In addition, seven and eight are far from the actual number reported by the local ARS: there are currently 11 confirmed cases in Portimão.
Contacted by the Observer, official source of the Directorate-General for Health said that the national body is in contact and articulation with the ARS do Algarve, but admitted that the registration system is not uniform, a reason that will be behind the inconsistencies recorded between the reports .
The president of ARS do Algarve, Paulo Morgado, did not answer the repeated calls made by the Observer during the morning and early afternoon of this Wednesday.
The Prime Minister, António Costa, sought this morning to justify the discrepancies between the numbers centralized by the DGS and the contradictory information released by some municipalities, underlining that “the DGS does not produce the numbers, aggregates the numbers transmitted to it by everyone and publish them ”.
Speaking to journalists at the Curry Cabral hospital in Lisbon, which he visited during the morning, Costa explained how national cases of Covid-19 are accounted for. “Each doctor signs up on a common platform for the cases he identifies. That is the origin. It is what is done here, it is done in all places. The numbers of the Directorate-General for Health are simply the aggregation of this decentralized information ”, said Costa.
Admitting that if a doctor “does not register these numbers, they do not appear”, Costa reiterated that “all the numbers that register appear even there”. “Therefore, the numbers of the Directorate-General for Health are the numbers that are provided by health professionals and it is based on this information that we have been working, they are the credible numbers that we can work with,” he said.