Health officials don't believe testing backlogs will cause a spike in North Texas COVID-19 cases

While a large number of positive coronavirus cases come out each day in North Texas, FOX4 has learned that it may not be the whole picture.

On top of a backlog of tests from overwhelmed private labs, there are also some data problems once the numbers get to the Dallas County.

FOX4 checked on specific numbers to see how big a gap there is in reported cases based on testing backlogs.

The director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, Dr. Philip Huang, would not go that far.

He did say that while the county has experienced some problems with information coming from the drive-thru labs, he doesn't think it will create a spike in the number of cases.

“There have been issues with the drive-thru labs, us getting all the information we need, maybe some backup on that. We’ve been trying to get a handle on how big that was to see if there will be a balloon of new reports,” Dr. Huang said.

Dr. Huang said he is told the data problems the county has had are being corrected.

“We don’t think it is a big problem. As far as I can tell, we won’t see a big influx of cases as this gets resolved, but it is a dynamic situation here,” he added.

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And on top of the data issues, there are also the commercial testing company backlogs.

“It was 13 days before I got test results,” said Jason Vercher, who is a physician assistant.

With big testing companies, like LabCorp and Quest, inundated with tens of thousands of tests every day, delayed results, like those for Vercher, can be more than frustrating.

“It’s important for essential workers in healthcare, like myself, to get back to work a lot more quickly,” Vercher said. “I know those working in hospitals emergency rooms, having a provider out for 14 days could have dire consequences.”

The delays are also impacting the numbers, as the only window the public has into the crisis is keeping them behind closed doors.

“We do need to keep this up, important for all us, you’ve seen how things can get in New York, trying to prevent that and save lives,” Dr. Huang added.