Collin County Judge Chris Hill announced Wednesday evening that the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported only 81 active cases of COVID-19 in Collin County as of that evening, a significant reduction from the 4,736 cases Hill said were reported just one week ago on Aug. 18.

“On a conference call this evening with DSHS officials, they confirmed that this update is correct,” Hill stated Wednesday evening.

The county dashboard has been updated to reflect the number as of Wednesday evening. Hill stated the DSHS had also updated the number of recovered COVID-19 cases.

"Also noteworthy, DSHS is reporting only 83 COVID-19 patients in Collin County hospitals (note: many of these patients do not reside in Collin County, and are therefore not included in the 81 active cases)," Hill stated. 

In the previous week, Collin County’s COVID-19 dashboard had begun sporting a disclaimer stating that it had been made aware of inaccuracies in reporting from the DSHS and that the county had no confidence in the data it was receiving.

In an Aug. 18 social media 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.

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.

On Monday, Hill announced that the DSHS was launching a Collin County Work Group the next day to clarify the county’s COVID-19 data.

The group’s sole purpose, Hill stated, was 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 would include multiple case investigators, Hill said.

The announcement came about one week after the county put up the disclaimer on its COVID-19 dashboard stating that it had no confidence in the data that it was getting. The disclaimer had later been updated to state that DSHS officials acknowledged that the number of reported active cases was 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.”

As of Wednesday evening, the disclaimer remained on the county dashboard.

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