Collin County Judge Chris Hill announced Monday that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is launching a Collin County Work Group to clarify the county’s COVID-19 data.

The group’s sole purpose, Hill stated, is to clear the county’s COVID-19 case backlog and to update the case data to reflect Collin County’s true COVID-19 status. The group will include multiple case investigators, Hill said, and was set to launch Tuesday. 

The announcement comes about one week after the county put up a disclaimer on its COVID-19 dashboard stating that it had no confidence in the data that it was getting. The disclaimer has since been updated to state that DSHS officials have acknowledged that the number of reported active cases is significantly “overstated.”

“DSHS officials had previously agreed to redirect resources to correct the data issues, and I'm truly grateful for their follow through,” Hill stated Monday. “Collin County will continue to support their efforts and provide any assistance requested by DSHS. We will continue to monitor the case data together with DSHS as the Work Group completes their task.”

In an Aug. 18 post that discussed the disclaimer, Hill said the DSHS had been responsible for all COVID-19 case investigations, contact tracing and case reporting for the county since June 1, but that reports and case totals continued to be “plagued by mistakes and errors.”

During a discussion the previous day, the Collin County Commissioners Court considered taking the dashboard down entirely, Hill stated in the Aug. 18 post. However, it decided to leave the dashboard up with the disclaimer. Hill cited concerns that the dashboard’s removal would cause confusion in the community.

“Collin County is providing COVID-19 numbers and data as a convenience to our residents,” the disclaimer states.

On Aug. 20, two days after his post regarding the disclaimer, Hill announced that DSHS officials had agreed that the case count for Collin County was significantly overstated and had immediately agreed to redirect sources to fix the issue.

“After a careful review of the case data, Collin County officials believe there are fewer than 1,000 active COVID-19 cases in the county at this time, rather than the 4,636 active cases currently reported by Texas DSHS,” Hill stated on Aug. 20.

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