The shape of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot since the first coronavirus cases were detected in King County in January 2020, and the shape of Public Health’s COVID-19 data dashboards has changed along with it.
At each stage of the COVID-19 response, we have updated how data gathered from across the county is presented and what details are included, in an effort to present the most relevant and actionable information for our community and decisionmakers.
Now, we are excited to share a simplified, more intuitive, and mobile-friendly redesign of our COVID-19 data dashboards.
Current COVID-19 metrics
We’ve revised the COVID-19 summary dashboard (now called Current COVID-19 metrics) to better align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Community Level, which uses reported COVID-19 case rates and hospitalization data to characterize how much COVID-19 is impacting a community, particularly in terms of severe COVID-19 illness and impact on the hospital system.
The Current COVID-19 metrics dashboard now summarizes the current state of COVID-19 in King County as low, medium, or high, based on the CDC COVID-19 Community Level and provides a four-month trend line for reported COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations due to COVID-19, and percent of hospital beds with a COVID-19 patient. This shift in how data are presented reflects the national public health strategy focused on limiting severe illness and death from COVID-19 and reducing strain on healthcare systems.
The increasing use of at-home tests means that cases reported to Public Health (which are predominantly PCR tests performed by laboratories) undercount the true number of cases occurring in the community. For this reason, hospitalization data is a more reliable measure of COVID-19 activity and trends.
The page also offers a snapshot of hospitalization and reported case rates by geography across the county, and a demographic breakdown of hospitalization, case, and death rates across age, gender, and race and ethnic groups.
COVID-19 trends dashboard
Looking at long-term trends in COVID-19 data can provide insights into our current pandemic situation, compared to the confusion that can come from focusing on short-term rises and falls in reported numbers.
The COVID-19 trends dashboard summarizes the total and daily average numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths since the pandemic began, and offers interactive tools that allow the user to identify trends in these metrics across time, geography, and age groups.
Download the data and About the data pages
While the new dashboards present data in a simpler way, that doesn’t mean any of the detail has been lost. All of the same COVID-19 data is still being collected across King County and is available for direct download on the Download the data page.
The About the data page offers information and insights into how data is collected and how it should be interpreted, along with any limitations and other considerations when using the data for individuals and organizations.
The redesigned COVID-19 dashboards are easy to see and use on mobile phones and many other devices. We designed them using a responsive format that offers more flexible layouts and allows users to view them on-the-go.
Questions and answers
Q: What is staying the same?
A: The Current COVID-19 metrics dashboard will continue to show information about COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and hospital bed use, but in a simpler format. Beyond the Current COVID-19 metrics dashboard, the COVID-19 trends dashboard, and the About the data and Download the data pages, all other dashboards are remaining the same, and the same county-wide data will continue be available for direct download by the public.
Q: Which dashboards are being retired?
A: The COVID-19 summary dashboard and COVID-19 community level dashboard will be retired as part of this redesign. The most relevant information about hospitalizations, hospital capacity impacts, and reported case rates will be displayed on the new Current COVID-19 metrics dashboard, and all other data from the older dashboards will continue to be available via direct download.
Q: How do I interpret the average 7-day rate over the past 28 days?
A: The 7-day average rate is used to adjust for daily variations, which may be large among smaller populations. It is determined by first calculating the 7-day rate for each day in the past 28 days. Then, the average of the 7-day rates for the past 28 days is taken.
Q: Where can I find the COVID-19 data for my city?
A: COVID-19 data by city (and other geographies) are available on the Data for download page. COVID-19 data by city is no longer shown on the dashboards because the COVID-19 data dashboards are shifting to emphasize COVID-19 community level, which is measured at the county level.
Q: Where is the effective reproductive number?
A: We have removed this visualization because it does not represent up-to-date data. Statewide estimates for effective reproductive number are available from the Washington State Department of Health.
Q: Where is the COVID-19 Community Transmission level for healthcare facilities?
A: These data are available via the CDC website.
Q: Where can I reach out if I have questions about the data or the dashboards?
A: You can send us a message using our online form or email us directly at email@example.com.
Originally published September 13, 2022