(CNN) — Georgia, one of the first states to announce the reopening of businesses and public spaces amid the health crisis, has come under scrutiny for their reporting on COVID-19 cases.

Data tracking COVID-19 cases in the state has come under question after a misleading chart was posted on the state Department of Public Health’s web page, according to an article by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

When Georgia started reopening last month, a bar chart on the Department of Public Health’s website appeared to show that the number of new confirmed cases in the counties with the most infections had dropped every single day for the prior two weeks, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on May 13.

The bar graph showed a downward trajectory but did not list dates in chronological order or keep the counties in the same position each day, both of which caused confusion.

The graph has since been taken off the website.

The website also reported 2,400 more confirmed cases than tests that were performed on one day last week, according to the article. The error was quickly fixed.

In the article, the AJC said they were told by a spokeswoman for the department that the chart was incorrect because of an error in how they sorted data.

CNN has not received a response from the Department of Health on inquiries about the bar graph.

In an interview with the AJC, state Rep. Scott Holcomb said he sent a letter to the governor’s office regarding the discrepancy.

“I don’t know how anyone can defend this graph as not being misleading, I really don’t,” he told the paper.

Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted on May 11, “The graph was supposed to be helpful but was met with such intense scorn that I, for one, will never encourage DPH to use anything but chronological order on the x axis moving forward.”

She tweeted on the same day, “The x axis was set up that way to show descending values to more easily demonstrate peak values and counties on those dates. Our mission failed. We apologize. It is fixed.”

CNN has reached out to Broce, Kemp’s office, the Georgia Department of Health and Holcomb’s office for comment.

The-CNN-Wire
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