Summit County presents new COVID-19 data dashboard, including additional charts and progress tracker
KEYSTONE — Summit County officials announced Tuesday a new dashboard for measuring data related to the novel coronavirus, which is aimed at creating more transparency and accessibility.
Hayden Hedman, the county’s newly hired data analyst and epidemiologist, presented on the data dashboard at the Summit County Board of Health meeting Tuesday, July 28. The dashboard will be available beginning Friday, July 31, at the county’s current COVID-19 data website, which can be found by going to SummitCountyCo.gov/coronavirus and clicking on “case data.”
Hedman said people might notice some differences in the data on the new dashboard compared with its current iteration. While the total number of cases will not change, it will be presented differently with the new dashboard.
“It came down to making sure the data is following the same processes as the state,” Hedman said. “At the end of the day, they’re the ones that are going to be assessing us. So we wanted to really make sure that we were having the most transparent process but also holding up the best data with our integrity.”
Since he was hired, Hedman has been working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to clean up the county’s data related to the virus. This included getting rid of discrepancies like positive test results of people who don’t actually live in the county.
The new website will have a page for milestones, which will track the county’s progress in meeting the metrics required to apply for the protect-our-neighbors phase of reopening. The milestones are also a way for the county to show its progress in combating the virus to the general public.
“The data that we want to present and have available to the public on a daily basis … is slightly different than how we’re being assessed, but we want to be transparent and have both accessible,” Hedman said.
According to the data presented, the county is currently meeting almost all of the goals for the protect-our-neighbors phase. It still has some work to do to meet the thresholds for the number of hospitalizations due to the virus and the number of positive cases per 100,000 people.
For the protect-our-neighbors phase, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center would have to show stable or declining counts of new hospitalizations of the virus in the past 14 days. According to the data presented at the meeting, the county has not been able to meet that metric in recent weeks. As of Monday, about 30% of hospital admissions over the past 14 days were COVID-19 related. That exceeds the state’s 25% threshold.
The number of positive cases per 100,000 is also failing to meet the state’s requirements of 25 or fewer positive cases per 100,000 people in the last 14-day period. As of Monday, the number of positive cases was just below 60 per 100,000.
However, the county is meeting metrics for hospital occupancy, testing positivity rate and cumulative total confirmed tests.
The new dashboard also will have a lot of the same information as the current one, but it will be more broken down. The first thing listed on the site will be the confirmed positive tests followed by the probable cases, total number of hospitalizations and the total number of people tested.
The new dashboard will feature the total number of outbreaks the county has experienced, the number of deaths among positive cases of the virus and the number of deaths due to the virus. The current website only reports the number of deaths due to the virus, which is two. The number of deaths of people who had the virus but didn’t die from it is four, according to the dashboard presentation.
Race, age and sex demographics now will be visualized through the use of graphs. Currently, those demographics are listed as percentages on the side of the website. The demographic breakdowns will not include certain groups to prevent revealing a person’s identity, Hedman said. For example the graph of the virus broken down by sex only shows male and female, and the race graph only shows Hispanic/Latinx, white and “other.”
“I’m not displaying transgender or non-cis-conforming identity because that could potentially expose population due to low sample size,” he said. “The same with race and ethnicity, we group multiracial and all other races and ethnicities outside of Hispanic, Latinx and white into other because of potential concern for an exposure.”
Public Health Director Amy Wineland said that while the new dashboard will give people a greater sense of where the county stands on its management of the virus, it’s important to keep in mind that circumstances and definitions are constantly changing.
“There’s so many variables that can change how the data looks over time,” she said. “In the beginning, we had a really high percent positivity because we were only testing those most likely to have it. … It’s just important to keep all of these pieces in mind.”
Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine said the new dashboard should give people confidence in the county’s data over the state’s.
“The state has all of the counties to contend with, so I think our data would likely be the most accurate and up to date,” she said.
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