Dallas County judge loosens COVID-19 testing criteria, encourages more people to get tested

Despite some concerns over accuracy and turnaround time at a free testing site, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins still wants people to use it.

The judge loosened the criteria for a test at Eastfield College in Mesquite and says the site has not reached capacity in days.

The Dallas County judge is encouraging teachers going back into the classroom to get tested — even if they’re not showing symptoms.

The judge says testing is down 40 percent at Dallas County sites, and the tests are available and should be utilized, especially by essential workers.

“I’m hoping that people who are going back into a group setting will avail themselves to testing,” Judge Jenkins said. “If all you're doing is testing people who are sick as a dog, then you're going to miss people who are asymptomatic.”

Their days of the hours-long wait lines at public testing sites seem to be over. But what continues, for some, is the week-long wait for test results.

Father and son, Cliff and Chris Cozby, say they have tested several times at the Eastfield College site dating back to August 4th. Still, no results.

“We're not able to go to work or anywhere,” Cliff said. “We're stuck at home until we hear something”

READ MORE: Mesquite dad, son say public COVID-19 test site slow to deliver results

FOX 4 asked the judge about incidents like that on Thursday during his press conference. He calls it unacceptable.

According to the county, at the end of July, most people were getting test results back in three days’ time.

Judge Jenkins says they’re running another test to gauge turnaround. He says the issue lies with the sites run by private contractors, hired by the city and county with federal CARES Act funding.

Despite the issues, the judge is focused on convincing more people to get tested to better identify the spread.

“We need more testing. We all know that we need more testing,” he said.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has already launched an audit involving one of the contractors, Honu Management Group, because of the same test result turnaround issue.