Very nature of the “probable” case definition has the potential to cause a spike in the number of cases, he warned in May
Texas’ new guidelines that count ‘probable’ Covid-19 cases could artificially inflate the state’s number, a Texas judge warned.
Once the guidelines came into place in late May, Collin Co. Chris Hill said they have “the potential to significantly and artificially increase case totals.”
His entire statement is worth reading, but here’s a few key takeaways:
First, the very nature of the “probable” case definition has the potential to cause a spike in the number of cases, many of which will likely be false positives.
As businesses, families, and institutions work diligently towards reopening, the artificial increase in COVID-19 cases will undoubtedly increase the anxiety level for many in our community, while leading others to distrust the reports provided by the state health department.
The new definition will also cause additional people to be subject to quarantine orders, some for such insignificant reasons as (1) residing in Collin County and (2) having shortness of breath.
Others who don’t want to risk a false diagnosis of COVID-19 will be tempted to conceal symptoms like headaches, fever, and coughing. None of these help us stop the spread of COVID-19, nor do they strike a prudent balance between public health priorities and individual concerns.
Here’s a graph from the county’s web site which makes this easier to understand:
“Second, this new strategy places a counterproductive stress on our public health department resources, as every new ‘probable’ case must be investigated in the same manner as a confirmed case, and contact tracing of ‘probable’ cases will lead to bloated lists of persons under monitoring,” Judge Hill continued. “The introduction of this new ‘probable’ case definition does not serve the public good or our public health.”
Texas, which had a relatively measured response to the initial coronavirus outbreak, has now followed California in implementing more draconian decrees due to these new, controversial guidelines – and a governor who apparently has less grasp of the situation than a county judge.