How to read State and local case counts in Texas

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ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – The Texas Department of Health is now changing how they count COVID-19 cases if you go onto the State website you will find the total confirmed cases Texas is no longer counting probables.

Dr. Timothy Benton, the MCH Chief Medical Officer said, “The State chose not to report them because there was not consistent across all of the counties.”

Ector County Health Officials will still be including probables towards the overall count. Meaning their count may be higher than the states but it is still correct according to CDC guidelines.

“The State also said that it’s appropriate to count them and report them,” said Dr. Benton.

Dr. Benton breaks it down what a probable test is saying “probable cases are people who have symptoms and were tested with an antigen type test instead of a PCR type test and that is an accurate test when it’s positive.”

A PCR type test is a nasal swab many are familiar with and an antigen test checks for a protein that lives on the surface of the virus. A positive antigen test will not give a false positive. According to the FDA and CDC, these tests are important to track the overall COVID-19 response.

Dr. Benton said, “It does give us an indication of the prevalence of the disease to count both of them.”

The CDC, like Ector County, counts both probable and confirmed tests for COVID-19 in Texas because a positive result is accurate for both types of tests. Many facilities use the antigen test because it is cheaper but still provides accurate results.

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