Data dive: A look at regional COVID-19 numbers and why they are important

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 6:13 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Between the national, statewide, and regional data, there’s a lot of information out there regarding COVID-19. With all the numbers and graphs across various sites, it can be overwhelming trying to digest all that’s being presented.

However, regional data will be the info that will most beneficial to you. The Barren River COVID-19 Dashboard was created by Barren River Area Development District (BRADD).

“The dashboard was created to help our local officials visualize our local statistics that they are working with on a daily basis. Being a community decision-maker is a very tough job and we wanted to give them as much information as possible in a format that is easy to understand,” said Kim Morrow, GIS Manager with BRADD who created the dashboard.

The dashboard pulls data from 14 counties in Kentucky and northern Tennessee and creates an interactive platform.

“Currently we are pulling the data from multiple sources. When possible, we are using information from our local health department health releases. Data containing demographic information is being pulled from a statewide mapping service that we have customized to display only information for our region," said Morrow.

“Our local data is a little different, it has to be input manually, and since it’s usually released in the early evening, it isn’t necessarily updated until the next morning.”

When analyzing data and determining where your community is at in terms of fighting the pandemic, the most relevant data will likely be active cases, hospitalizations, ICU patients, deaths. The Barren River District Health Department doesn’t directly provide active cases, but you can get that number by subtracting total cases, deaths, and recovered.

To put things into perspective, from August 20 to August 28, active cases grew by only 159. From the week prior, September 4 to September 11, active cases grew by 381, according to the Barren River District Health Department.

Comparing active cases based on numbers from the Barren River District Health Department.
Comparing active cases based on numbers from the Barren River District Health Department.(WBKO)

Other critical numbers to consider when analyzing COVID-19 in the region are hospitalizations, ICU patients, and deaths. The state is currently reporting that 533 are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 125 are in the ICU.

Kentucky and Tennessee hospitalizations. Info from KDH and TDH
Kentucky and Tennessee hospitalizations. Info from KDH and TDH(WBKO)

Those numbers don’t mean much unless you compare. Looking at Tennessee, the department of health is reporting 762 people are hospitalized with 260 in the ICU.

As far as current active cases for the entire state of Kentucky, that number is unclear. Gov. Beshear has said before that tracking those who are recovered is difficult. This further proves that data coming from local entities is critical.

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