Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson requires probe into coronavirus screening contract after News examination – The Dallas Morning News

5August 2020

This is an establishing story and will be updated.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on Wednesday asked the city’s auditor to investigate how a Washington-based company won a $14 million agreement to run a coronavirus evaluating site through an emergency bidding procedure . The call follows a Dallas Morning News report that highlighted potential warnings in the business’s track record. The

city and county of Dallas are splitting the cost of the agreement with Honu Management Group to run one of the region’s largest public testing sites. The city and county introduced the screening site at the University of Dallas in July after the federal government ended its support for testing. The screening website run by Honu has actually since transferred to Dallas College Eastfield Campus.

“These issues deserve a better look. The size of the City’s contract is considerable, and the stakes are extraordinarily high for testing as we work to slow the spread of a lethal infection in Dallas,” the mayor stated in his memo. “We must feel confident in our choices as we dedicate millions in taxpayer dollars to our pandemic reaction efforts.”

Honu did not right away reply to an ask for comment on Wednesday.

The mayor’s request also comes one day after Dallas County commissioners said they will keep paying Honu their part of the agreement till after officials figure out whether the business is satisfying its responsibilities of supplying test outcomes within 72 hours of a laboratory receiving the specimen. County commissioners are expected to use up the contract at their Aug. 18 conference.

Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel, who represents eastern Dallas County, said her staff was evaluated at the University of Dallas site on July 28 and since Tuesday night had not yet gotten their outcomes.

Because Honu started running the University of Dallas website, over 90% of test results have actually been turned around within 3 days, data supplied by the county shows. Dallas County health authorities are looking into why 7% of people tested positive at the website in July, compared to 17% at screening places run by Parkland Healthcare facility.

In a previous interview with The News, both Honu CEO Devin Thornton and city officials stated the business was fulfilling the terms of the agreement.

Authorities formerly stated Honu was the only company it approached as part of its emergency bidding procedure that fulfilled all the requirements needed to meet the city’s needs for a self-contained screening website similar to what the federal government had set up previously in the pandemic.

However, the city has actually started taking new quotes for testing and laboratories to run its public testing site. The application window ends Aug. 17.

Testing for the infection has actually been an across the country problem.

Dr. Diana Cervantes, an epidemiologist at The University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth stated public officials in a rush to make testing more available produced unexpected repercussions– including faulty tests and a traffic jam of samples causing hold-ups in getting people outcomes.

Cervantes stated it is essential for public authorities to keep in mind as they seek out brand-new services to bear in mind: “Not all laboratories and testing are made equivalent.”

“You need to have specialized people to do the test, special devices and unique reagents,” she said.

Cervantes stated the medical and public health neighborhood have actually never ever required test results so quickly as they do now with the fast-moving coronavirus. And she hopes that moving on public officials look for tests that produce lead to minutes instead of days, even if they aren’t as accurate as the nose swab test currently common at the general public testing websites. That will take a “huge switch” in the public health community to focus on speed over quality.

“You can have a really great test that has the ability to quickly determine people who are contagious,” she stated.

Source: dallasnews.com

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