China Changes Coronavirus Case Diagnosis Criteria In Hubei Province

AP: China reports spike in virus cases with new way of counting
“China on Thursday reported a sharp spike in deaths and infections from a new virus after the hardest-hit province of Hubei applied a new classification system that broadens the scope of diagnoses for the outbreak, which has spread to more than 20 countries. … The new diagnostic approach came on the same day that Hubei and its stricken capital, Wuhan, replaced their top officials in an apparent response to public criticism of how authorities have handled the epidemic. … The total now includes more than 13,000 cases of ‘clinical diagnosis’ in Hubei, which appears to include those based on a doctors’ analysis combined with lung imaging, as opposed to waiting for laboratory test results…” (Wang, 2/13).

NPR: A Change In How 1 Chinese Province Reports Coronavirus Adds Thousands Of Cases
“China’s Hubei province expanded its criteria for identifying new coronavirus infections on Thursday, causing a dramatic spike in reported cases at the epicenter of the disease, as Beijing moved to purge provincial party officials amid criticism of their handling of the epidemic. Hubei, where the majority of the world’s infections have been concentrated, added a new category of ‘clinical cases’ to its reporting. Now, patients will be included who exhibit all the symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus — including fever, cough, and shortness of breath — but have either not been tested or tested negative for the virus itself. The change, likely a response to the scarcity of test kits and questions about their reliability, caused a ninefold increase in new reported cases in the province…” (Feng/Neuman, 2/13).

Reuters: Coronavirus diagnosis method not changed in other Chinese provinces, regions: Shanghai health commission
“The methodology for coronavirus diagnosis has not changed in other provinces apart from Hubei, and not in municipalities such as the city of Shanghai, a Shanghai Health Commission spokeswoman said on Thursday…” (Zhang/Goh, 2/13).

Additional coverage of the broader case definition and case counts is available from BBC, NBC News, New York Times, and Reuters (2)(3)(4).