Anchor Derick Garcia’s positive COVID-19 contact tracing ‘slipped’ through system’s cracks

Local News
February 07 2021 06:00 pm

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — CBS4 Morning anchor Derick Garcia’s experience with COVID-19 is both similar and vastly different than most with the virus.

Mid-June, Garcia volunteered to be tested by the Texas National Guard for a report on the state’s mobile testing process at various locations throughout Cameron County including South Padre Island.

“We were respectful medical privacy and didn’t film people directly. I volunteered and I’m glad I did because little did I know, my results were positive,” said Garcia.

Documents given to Garcia state results would be available in less than a week. It wasn’t until June 29, Garcia found grew impatient waiting for an email or call from the state.

Garcia Googled state websites to find his results online. The results from the test indicated the virus was detected, “my heart sank and a flood of emotions came over me,” Garcia reflected. “Anger, frustration, confusion, and mostly guilt. I didn’t feel any symptoms and wasn’t exposed because of those facts, I didn’t follow the recommended guidance to isolate until your results are in. That’s what brought on the guilt and mind racing question of ‘did I get someone sick.'”

Garcia continued to work from home and quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines, “a lot of the reports I filed during that time were inspired by questions I had and what many others were sharing online,” said Garcia.

In a zoom interview with Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo confirmed, the Texas Military was contracted with various labs to be able to handle the number [and] the quantity of samples that were being collected.”

Dr. Castillo added, “There are always going to be a few that are going to slip through. I mean it’s just the nature of the system it cannot be perfect.”

The system Castillo refers to is the mass testing, laboratory backlog, and a limited number of contact tracers who ask questions to positive individuals on where they have contracted the virus and from who.

Garcia’s case is classified as a ‘community-acquired’ case with Cameron County.

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