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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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Austin increases Covid testing and backlog
Friday, August 21, 2020 by Elizabeth Pagano
Austin community testing data from Austin Public Health, hospitals, state facilities, physicians and clinics have surpassed goals set for May, June and July. Data show 39,609 tests were completed in May; 50,910 tests were completed in June; and 69,243 tests were completed in July. A full press release about the testing goals, including more information about testing locations and lab processing times, can be found here.
Meanwhile, Austin Public Health continues to receive and process backlogged lab reports from the Texas Department of State Health Services. A news release from the city estimates that the backlog has swelled to 7,000 reports, up from the approximately 2,200 reports initially received on Aug. 13. Some of the reports are from as far back as April and are duplicates of already counted cases in the region. The release added, “It is important for the public to understand that APH does not lean heavily on the DSHS data in order to understand the burden of Covid-19 on Austin and Travis County. We receive data directly from hospitals, labs, and partners, and we have teams dedicated to data entry, case investigation and evaluating the Covid-19 response in Austin-Travis County. Because providers are required to directly report suspected or confirmed cases to the local health department, APH begins case investigations with those reports to keep the community safe.”