Presentation and Reporting Updates

Case & Count Reporting Changes | June 20, 2020

The Texas Department of State Health Services Region 8 notified Frio County that changes in case and count reporting methods have taken affect.

Of Note:

  • Active, Recovered, and Deaths numbers will now be an “aggregate count,” explained in detail below. Aggregate data is reported by DSHS Monday through Friday.
  • Frio COVID Lifeline will now have two sets of data: (1) aggregate count and (2) data from cases that have been investigated through DSHS. The investigated data has the ZIP code, exposure source, and hospitalization information, and will lag behind the aggregate count, according to DSHS.
  • Address information provided to first responders will see a delay from DSHS, due to the increase of case investigations.

From Texas Department of State Health Services:

Now Reporting Aggregate Case Counts

Over the past several weeks, we have seen case counts rise significantly in Region 8.  The increase in cases has caused our team to reach a threshold where we are unable to complete investigations on the same day we receive the report of a case.  We have decided that reporting total, aggregate case counts will give you a better picture of the overall case counts as we continue to work through the investigations.  The Region 8 team will continue to work diligently through the case workload and will investigate cases and report them to you as the investigation is completed.

 What Is an Aggregate Count?

An aggregate count is the total number of reported cases, whether or not we have completed the investigation.  When we receive a lab result, the result goes through a review.  We must determine if the result meets the case definition (see below for the case definitions).  We also must verify the address (if it is known) so the case will be attributed to the correct jurisdiction or county.  Then we attempt to contact the individual so we can complete the case investigation.  Once the investigation is complete, we notify the county of the result.  Not until we notify the county do we add the result to our case counts.  At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the turnaround time for this process was less than 24 hours.  As the number of cases has increased, we are experiencing a backlog and can no longer complete the investigation in 24 hours.

We want counties to know the total number of reported cases so they have a clearer picture of the trends in their jurisdiction.

How Will This Affect Numbers?

Some jurisdictions that are experiencing increasing case reports and testing will see a significant increase in numbers compared to what was previously reported.  Others may see no changes.  This all depends on the number of test results received in a given day for each jurisdiction.  Additionally, active case counts will increase initially, because active cases are calculated by the total case count, minus those that are not Recovered or Deceased.

Reminder on Case Definitions

confirmed case of COVID-19 is one that is laboratory confirmed in a clinical specimen using a molecular test, such as a PCR test.   A probable case of COVID-19 is one that is not laboratory confirmed by PCR, but may meet case definition through a combination of symptoms, exposure history, and other lab tests.  The purpose of a probable case definition is to identify cases that may not be able to receive a confirmatory test.  This may be due to their isolation status or because they have mild symptoms that do not require a healthcare visit.  Both confirmed and probable cases are considered cases and are included in total counts.

Discontinuation of Address Flags

As there is community spread in most areas, first responders should be taking the proper precautions on all calls to protect themselves.  We no longer recommend putting addresses in the CAD system as a method of alerting or protecting first responders.  In addition, the information we provide to counties will be delayed due to the backlog of cases and may no longer be timely for inclusion in the CAD system.