Kyle, TX — In light of yesterday’s announcement from Hays County officials that they had drastically undercounted COVID-19 hospitalizations, Representative Erin Zwiener issued the following statement:
“I am grateful that the County is taking the appropriate steps forward to amend this mistake,” said Rep. Zwiener. “I hope the county will learn from this, demonstrate steps they’ve taken to prevent future errors, and be more transparent and accessible to both local elected officials and the public at large. It’s concerning that it took over two months to correct this error, and that raises concerns about their ability to respond quickly in the future, particularly if we have another spike of COVID-19 cases.”
On July 10th, Rep. Zwiener began raising concerns about the hospitalization data.
While hospitalizations for the central Texas region were spiking, the reported hospitalizations for Hays County residents remained flat.
According to Zwiener, this did not reflect the experiences of hospital workers, and she worked with local hospital systems to get data documenting the discrepancy to Hays County.
“It came out because of Ms. Zwiener, and I have to say we’re pretty grateful that she was so adamant in her belief that the numbers were wrong,” Kim Hilsenbeck, Hays County Communications Manager, said. “When Ms. Zwiener was saying, ‘Your hospital numbers look wrong, and I have information showing that there were actually more hospital cases,’ I think it kind of brought it to light for everybody.”
Hays County reported Thursday, Sept. 24, that 160 hospitalizations had gone unreported to the local health department from various sources.
The Hays County Local Health Department (HCLHD) receives information from medical providers, hospitals, laboratories, and other entities regarding COVID-19 cases including new cases, active cases, recoveries, fatalities, and hospitalizations.
The HCLD then releases that information to the public via regular updates.
“It is critical that we provide accurate and contextualized information to the public so that residents understand how COVID-19 is impacting our community and adjust their actions accordingly,” said Rep. Zwiener. “I will always fight for transparency, especially on life and death issues like the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you again to the county officials who righted this wrong, and I look forward to learning more about their plans to prevent a similar occurrence.”