Collin County commissioners voted Oct. 12 to remove the dashboard from the county website on Oct. 30 and provide a link instead to the DSHS site, which includes Collin County data along with the state data. The motion was approved unanimously, though Commissioner Duncan Webb was absent from the meeting.
“I think [the dashboard has] run its course,” Commissioner Darrell Hale said. “I’m not sure that fixation on those percentages and case numbers has as much value as it did early on when we were trying to figure out the disease and trying to figure out trends. We know where we are now.”
Hale initially made a motion to remove the dashboard immediately, but agreed to amend his motion to remove the dashboard on Oct. 30 after Commissioner Susan Fletcher suggested giving the public time to provide feedback to commissioners.
“This is a big decision, and it could affect a lot,” Fletcher said. “I don’t believe it’s any of our intent to hide anything, but that’s the message that [removing it immediately] could send.”
Commissioners initially voted to add a disclaimer to its COVID-19 dashboard Aug. 17 that said the county did not have confidence in the accuracy of the data being provided by DSHS. Then on Aug. 24, commissioners voted to revise that disclaimer to acknowledge DSHS was working to make the data as accurate as possible.
DSHS set up a Collin County work group Aug. 25 to rectify the county’s backlog of cases not reflected on the dashboard. County Judge Chris Hill said the work group would be checking whether patients classified as active cases of COVID-19 had been symptom-free for 10 days so they could be reclassified as recovered. He also explained that if the group was unable to reach a patient after three attempts, they would be reclassified as recovered.
DSHS includes a disclaimer on its dashboard for Collin County as well as the one for Texas that states "all data are provisional and subject to change."
"Collin County chose to have the state take over its COVID-19 case investigations and contact tracing and to use DSHS data for its public reporting," DSHS officials said in an emailed statement in August. "Since that transition in June, DSHS has been providing the most complete data available each day. As with all COVID-19 data, it is subject to change as more information comes in."
During commissioners’ meetings on Oct. 5 and Oct. 12, Hill noted the dashboard’s total confirmed cases for Collin County does not include the number of patients who have died. As of Oct. 12, the county dashboard lists 15,455 recovered patients in Collin County and 827 active cases of COVID-19 in Collin County. Those two numbers add up to 16,282 patients, which is the listed total of confirmed cases on the county dashboard. DSHS and the county dashboard list an additional 165 patients from Collin County who are deceased.
Despite voting to remove the dashboard on Oct. 30, commissioners acknowledged there would be two more commissioners court meetings before that date in which they could change their minds if there was a reason to keep the dashboard up.
"I'm thankful that we have a two-week delay to allow the public to get used to the idea [of removing the dashboard],” Fletcher said after Tuesday’s meeting. “I need to hear back from my constituents and if there's anyone that has a problem with it coming down since it's the same data that the state is providing.”