King County Releases New Dashboard On Key Coronavirus Metrics

politics & government

The new dashboard shows key indicators, like how the virus is spreading, and how well testing and health care providers are keeping up.

By Charles Woodman, Patch Staff
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Testing capacity is one of the issues that King County needs to improve, according to the new data. (Shutterstock)

KING COUNTY — Public health officials for King County have set up a new online dashboard for residents to see how the coronavirus is spreading, how the county is responding, and what they need to work on next.

The dashboard focuses on three broad issues, divided into eight key indicators showing how the county is faring in the battle against the virus:

  • Current COVID-19 activity
    • What are the trends in reported cases?
    • Is the outbreak growing or shrinking?
    • Has the risk of being hospitalized changed?
    • Has the risk of death changed?
  • The county’s testing capacity
    • Can King County test enough to detect most cases?
    • Is the county testing quickly enough?
  • Healthcare readiness
    • What percentage of hospital beds are occupied?
    • What percentage of those occupied beds are filled with coronavirus patients?

As of the dashboard’s launch on Wednesday, King County is meeting four of the eight targets set for each question: the risk of hospitalization and death are both decreasing, less than 80 percent of hospital beds are in use and only 5 percent of those beds hold coronavirus patients.

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Local leaders say the dashboard is a useful tool for keeping the public informed, and that the metrics it shows will be essential in guiding the way forward for the region.

“In addition to monitoring the spread of the virus, public health and elected officials are examining the progress that we are making on the key metrics including testing and hospitalization, with other key targets on contact tracing and at-risk populations to be added to the dashboard soon,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “For the days and months to come, the public can follow the key targets that will be the basis of our scientific and data-driven decision-making to keep our community healthy.”

According to the data, the county still has to work on testing capacity and flattening the number of transmissions and new cases.

The dashboard as of Wednesday, May 27 (Courtesy Public Health – Seattle & King County)

Of particular note is the new data on trends, which shows how close King County is to meeting the standard necessary to enter Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan. To move into Phase 2, each county must have fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period. So far 24 counties have met that standard and moved on, but King County is not among them. Wednesday, the dashboard showed that King County had 28 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days, almost 3 times what is needed to make the cutoff. The state is considering a new set of standards for larger counties like King, Pierce and Snohomish that are struggling to meet the initial goal. That new standard is expected to be announced sometime this week.

The dashboard can be found on the county’s website here.

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