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COVID-19 Bulletin (08/06/20)

Mayor Eric Johnson wants an investigation of the company running the city's largest public testing site.
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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins reported 508 new cases and four deaths on Wednesday, after 31 deaths were reported the day prior. The deaths today included an otherwise healthy man in his 40s. Jenkins encouraged continued masking and social distancing. “It’s up to all of us to move from our selfish desires to sacrifice for the community good,” he tweeted.

Mayor Eric Johnson is asking for an investigation into Washington-based Honu Management Group, which won a $14 million contract to run a coronavirus testing site at the University of Dallas and Eastfield College, The Dallas Morning News reports.  Questions arose after there were questionable testing numbers and delays, and the Dallas County Commissioners court says it will be withholding payment until an investigation is completed.

The contract was awarded to Honu without normal bidding rules for public contracts, meaning companies are landing projects without proper vetting. The Dallas Morning News found that Honu had been accused in Washington (under a different name) of a kickback scheme, and that an El Paso construction company owner who vouched for their work actually owned the lab where Honu was processing the tests.

Five conservative members of the Texas Legislature are suing Texas Governor Greg Abbott over a $295 million contract awarded to Frisco-based MTX Group, arguing that the selection process was awarded too quickly, and that the length of the contract was inappropriate. The state emergency laws allowed the state officials more authority to make policy decisions, The Texas Tribune reports.

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