Open Letter To The City Of El Paso ‘Your COVID Testing Numbers Aren’t The Problem’
A local tv station did a story a couple of days ago about the way the City of El Paso reports COVID-19 cases. The story details how City health officials keep three categories of cases - new positive cases, active cases, and recovered cases. The numbers of active cases has hovered in the tens of thousands for months but the investigation by the tv station showed that City officials don't move active cases to recovered cases unless they make contact with the person listed as active and they report being recovered. The City says that they will be looking into changing the way they keep track and that will reduce the active numbers, but I gotta tell you, the City's problem isn't the way they are tracking numbers, it's the way they are handling things in general. Here are a couple of problems I see and some suggestions on how to fix them:
1. The COVID website is awful - There are too many busy graphics, too much information per page, and so many El Pasoans don't have access to the internet or don't know how to navigate the site that they give up. Each bit of information should have its own page, such as, "Where to Get A Test", "Sign Up Here For The Vaccine", "Active Cases", and so on. No, it's not as sexy as this jumble, but you're trying to impart information, not win a tech award for "Coolest COVID Website".
2. Information please - I know you all have a bunker mentality. You're stressed, everyone, including me, is coming at you with suggestions, but you really should understand how the news story about the way things are being handled makes the City look terrible. Before you put out information, you should ask a community board to look at the website presentation for glitches or difficulties that the general public might run into.
3. Information please part 2 - The fact that you guys were keeping active cases on the active case list for months is something that should have been released to the public. Having it come out in the news under a sensational headline defeats your cause. If the media has to dig around for information that you guys should have released it is going to make people not believe the information they are getting from you.
In general, City officials, you guys need to open the doors to outside eyes so that they can help you get feedback on the information and the delivery of information on the COVID-19 pandemic response in El Paso. Give me a call at 880-9393 and I'd be happy to help.