Greg Abbott

DSHS COVID-19 New Case Backlog Adjustments Solved, Gov. Abbott Says

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the backlog of COVID-19 cases coming out of the Texas Department of State Health Services Tuesday saying the problems underlying the need for the adjustments have been solved and that he has more confidence in the accounting than ever before.

The governor briefly discussed the recent jump in case numbers during a visit to Fort Worth where he discussed a proposal to discourage defunding police departments in the state.

Abbott said there were several reasons for the DSHS backlog, one being that legacy systems at the agency allowed them to only accept 45,000 tests per day and that meant there were thousands that did not get logged in a timely manner. Abbott said a team at the state health department has since worked to increase that capacity by four or five times that amount.

The governor also said delays receiving test results from private labs also contributed to the backlog but added that Tuesday morning one private lab, Quest labs, said changes made on their end will now allow tests to be returned in one or two days as opposed to one or two weeks.

State-based labs as well as state-affiliated medical centers, such as UT Southwestern in Dallas, are making sure the state can also turn COVID-19 tests around in under two days, Abbott said.

"Bottom line is this, maybe for another few days there could be some numbers adjustments that are coming in but the problems underlying that have now been solved," Abbott said. "I have greater confidence today than I've ever had in their ability to make sure that they are fully capable of accounting for all tests and test results and reporting very accurate results."

In recent days, several North Texas counties have reported abnormally high numbers of new COVID-19 cases as the backlog is cleared. On Sunday, Aug. 16, Dallas County reported 5,361 new cases followed by another 1,850 on Monday. On Saturday, Aug. 15, Tarrant County reported 1,436 cases followed by another 687 on Sunday. In Collin County, 1,167 new cases were reported on Friday followed by 395 on Saturday.

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