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A whole new look at the data

Community Assessment Manager Cindan Gizzi
by Cindan Gizzi05/06/2020 2:02 p.m.
Updated: 05/06/2020

We unveiled several improvements on our COVID-19 data page today. The dynamic, streamlined dashboard gives viewers highlights such as new cases, total cases, deaths and recovery stats in one quick view. We hope our new dashboard makes reading and understanding the data easier. 

New today are death and recovery data and a 7-day rolling average feature on our daily case counts.

This dashboard includes:

  • Total cases, new cases and total deaths. 
  • Assumed active cases (people who are still sick).
  • Assumed recovered cases.
  • Hospital stays for COVID-19 (updated weekly).
  • Cases and deaths by geographic region.

We will update daily to reflect any changes we learned about while investigating cases, like reassigning a case to another county. 

How many people have recovered? 

Our total case count is cumulative, and over the last several weeks, you’ve asked: “But how many people have recovered?” We shared a blog post on April 22 to provide an initial estimate on those who have recovered from this lengthy illness and a promise that we would share that information in May. Today, our new data dashboard shows those assumed recovered. That's good news we know you care about!  

What are the case trends?  

We also made a change to our display of the number of COVID-19 cases to make trends easier to see. A green line running through the purple bars represents the number of new cases every day. This green line is a 7-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases in Pierce County. This means we’ve calculated the average number of new cases for the week before, and it updates each day.  

This 7-day rolling average creates a “smoothing” effect that helps uncover trends. We are showing the same numbers of cases in a different way.  

What can you share about COVID-related deaths?  

You’ve wanted to know more about COVID-19-related deaths, and fortunately, our overall number of deaths is considered a small data set. To protect private health information, we can share limited information about these deaths.  

But we can report on broad categories. Starting today, we will report weekly on deaths by age group, sex, race/ethnicity and Pierce County region. We will also report the percent of COVID-19 deaths affiliated with a long-term care facility, the percent who were hospitalized, and the percent with underlying health conditions.  

What about cases in care facilities? 

Last week, we added a table to show the number of positive COVID-19 cases in care facilities such as long-term care, assisted living, adult family homes and other congregate care facilities. We always must balance protecting personally identifiable health information with transparency of data.  

To strike this balance, we are reporting positive cases in facilities with 30 or more beds with 10 or more cases. The numbers are cumulative. Related recoveries and deaths are reported in those overall totals. We also improved our map view last week, now showing a census tract view. We’ve included the long-term care facilities that have had outbreaks on this map. We’ve heard you like it.  

We listen, learn and improve.

These are examples of how we listen to you, learn from what other agencies are doing, and improve how we report Pierce County data. We also added a graph showing the estimated number of total actual cases and updated our daily case graph to reflect our total case count, including the day-to-day changes that come from reassigning cases to other counties or finding duplicates.  

On May 1, Governor Inslee shared the data points the state will monitor as it dials up the relaxation of social distancing standards. We are tracking many of the same measures in our new data dashboard. We know you are interested in our county’s picture.   

COVID-19 data can be complex, especially with so many agencies and media outlets reporting new numbers every day. In a fast-paced outbreak, duplicate entries or cases that belong to another county can show up in our daily case count. When we find these inaccuracies, we update our data the following day. We have made extra effort to verify cases and deaths.  

We’re committed to providing you reliable, local public health data so you can have a better understanding of how COVID-19 is affecting our community. It‘s a fast-changing situation, and we will continue to offer new insights into our local story with our data.   

See the new dashboard at www.tpchd.org/covid19cases.

Community Assessment Manager Cindan Gizzi

by Cindan Gizzi

Cindan uses data to tell public health stories and how they relate to Pierce County residents.

 

We invite your comments but will delete those with profanity, personal attacks, derogatory statements, ads or promotional material. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department does not provide personal medical advice; please contact your health care provider.