The COVID-19 case count numbers reported on the Collin County dashboard should not be used to determine public health policy, Collin County Judge Chris Hill said Friday.
The statement came two days after the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) had reduced the reported number of active cases in Collin County by thousands in an effort to clear up a reported backlog of COVID-19 cases.
The DSHS has been responsible for all COVID-19 case investigations, contact tracing and case reporting for the county since June 1, according to a previous statement from Hill.
On Friday, Hill stated that the numbers reported by the department seemed to have “no rhyme or reason, and no logic.” He outlined discrepancies in the dashboard between reported new cases and the total reported number of active cases.
“We continue to discuss the situation daily with DSHS officials, who continue to tell us they're ‘working on it,’” Hill stated. “But for now, I remain convinced that DSHS has no idea how many cases exist in Collin County.”
The DSHS began working with Collin County in the form of a work group about one week after Collin County put a disclaimer on its COVID-19 dashboard stating that it had no confidence in the data it was receiving. The work group’s sole purpose was to clear a backlog of COVID-19 cases in the county and to update case data to reflect the county’s true status, Hill said.
On Aug. 26, Hill announced that updated numbers for Collin County’s active and recovered case counts had been reported and that the DSHS had reported that the updated data was correct. The updated number of 81 cases as of Aug. 26 was a significant reduction from the 4,736 active cases that had been reported about one week before on Aug. 18.
As the dashboard has continued to report daily new case counts, the reported total number of active cases has not been equivalent to the addition of newly reported cases and previously reported cases, Hill stated Friday.
“It was a mistake for Collin County to delegate this responsibility to the state. I said it then, and I'm even more convinced of it now,” Hill stated Friday. “The numbers aren't right, they aren't real, and they shouldn't be used to determine public health policy.”
As of Wednesday, the county dashboard maintains its disclaimer that the county does not have confidence in the data it is receiving. The disclaimer also states that DSHS officials have acknowledged that the active case count for Collin County is “significantly overstated.”