Mystery: No One Knows How Many Virus Tests Ector County Has Completed
ODESSA, TX – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, increasing by 300 since last night, questions have been raised regarding the amount of testing Ector County is currently doing.
According to CBS7, the Ector County Health Department launched a new website on Thursday that provides testing numbers. County records indicate that only 59 tests have been completed, with 18 returning with a negative result.
The numbers seem to fall short when compared to the amount of testing Tom Green and Midland County have completed up to date. Tom Green County has tested 251, Taylor County has tested 184, and Midland County has tested 245.
Local media reached out to county and city officials for answers, but it appears no one had any. Mayor David Turner told reporters to talk to the health department.
The Ector County Director, Brandy Garcia, told reporters they needed to get permission from Judge Debi Hays before Garcia could release any information.
CBS7 reporters contacted the judge’s office where they were communicated through a public information officer. The judge finally told reporters “she wasn’t ready to talk about numbers today – but could tomorrow.”
The county’s Emergency Operations Chief Danny Chavez told reporters that the numbers could be low because the county’ s numbers did not include the tests that are conducted by private labs.
“What’s happening is they are reporting them to the state level. What’s happening is our local department is getting bypassed with that data,” said Chavez. “So now our plan is to figure out how to extract that data from the state level so we can get more accurate numbers."
Today's answer is different from the answer she gave the Odessa American on March 24. On that day, OA reporter Mark Merlo reported:
"Garcia also addressed why Medical Center professionals aren’t allowed to handle more information being dispersed saying, 'The Health Department is limited on what staff we have because we are all trying to work on this particular incident and we want to make sure that in the event that we do need to utilize everybody,' she said that would be something they would be considering going forward."
CBS7 expects Judge Hays to make a statement on Saturday regarding the testing numbers.
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