With County Judge Chris Hill and Commissioner Cheryl Williams absent from the Oct. 26 meeting, Collin County commissioners voted 2-1 to leave the dashboard up indefinitely until the full court could decide its future.
Commissioner Susan Fletcher made the motion to keep the dashboard up because she said the court had planned to have “another discussion” on the matter.
“I think it would be inappropriate at this time for us to have that discussion and make a decision without our other two colleagues here to have their say on what we do with the dashboard,” Fletcher said.
Commissioner Duncan Webb seconded the motion and noted he was absent from the Oct. 12 meeting when the removal of the dashboard was previously decided.
“I, likewise, would like just to keep it up until we have a discussion of all five members of the court,” he said.
Commissioner Darrell Hale was the sole vote against the motion to retain the dashboard. After the commissioners meeting, Hale noted the court had previously voted to remove the dashboard by a 4-0 vote after a lengthy discussion.
"I thought the vote was consistent with the will of the commissioners court," said Hale, who added he expects all five commissioners will be present for the Nov. 2 meeting. "We'll end up having another vote on it on Monday."
Commissioners voted Oct. 12 to remove the dashboard from the county website on Oct. 30 due to continued inaccuracies in the data being provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services. In its place, the county planned to provide a link to the DSHS site, which includes Collin County data along with the state data.
“I think [the dashboard has] run its course,” Hale said during the Oct. 12 meeting. “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 take down the dashboard on Oct. 30 after Fletcher suggested giving the public time to provide feedback to commissioners.
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. Commissioners revised the disclaimer again on Sept. 14 to state DSHS officials had acknowledged the active case count for Collin County is “significantly overstated.”
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."
An email seeking comment from DSHS about the county’s latest decision was not immediately returned Oct. 26.
"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. 26, the county dashboard lists 16,792 recovered patients in Collin County and 976 active cases of COVID-19 in Collin County. Those two numbers add up to 17,768 patients, which is the listed total of confirmed cases on the county dashboard. DSHS and the county dashboard list an additional 175 patients from Collin County who are deceased.