The Texas Department of State Health Services revised their total coronavirus case count Wednesday, removing 3,484 ‘probable’ infections from the total confirmed number of cases. The revision comes as COVID-19 cases in Texas reach record highs.
The San Antonio and Bexar County Metro Health Department had previously included “probable” coronavirus cases – people who tested positive through an antigen test but not an antibody test – in their total case count, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said. They revised those numbers Wednesday and the state removed nearly 3,500 COVID-19 cases from their confirmed total. (RELATED: Group Of Texas Bar Owners Sue State Over Closures Amid Coronavirus Case Surge)
Additional note: @SAMetroHealth has clarified reporting to separate confirmed and probable cases. Bexar County and statewide totals are updated to remove 3,484 probable cases. These probable cases are from antigen tests but not antibody tests.
More info: https://t.co/bGhz1bN7zR
— Texas DSHS (@TexasDSHS) July 15, 2020
Metro Health released a statement Thursday saying that antigen tests, which were approved for emergency use by the FDA in May and July, are “considered very accurate,” Express News writer Lauren Caruba reported. Positive antigen tests are included in the CDC’s national case count, but not the state of Texas’ count, Metro Health said.
Antigen tests use the same technology as a strep test to identify COVID-19 in fluid from a person’s throat and nose, while a polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test looks for genetic material, they said.
“Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as molecular PCR tests. This means that positive results from antigen tests are highly accurate, but there is a higher chance of false negatives, so negative results do not rule out infection,” Metro Health added. “With this in mind, negative results from an antigen test may need to be confirmed with a PCR test prior to making treatment decisions or to prevent the possible spread of the virus due to a false negative.”
The revision comes during a surge of coronavirus cases in Texas. The state reported 129 deaths from the virus Thursday, a record high for a single day, according to Reuters. As morgues began to reach capacity, San Antonio and Bexar County ordered 5 refrigerated trucks to store bodies, Reuters reported Thursday.
The Texas Department of State Health Services did not respond to a request for comment.