VIRGINIA — On Monday, the Virginia Department of Health launched a new data dashboard showing community transmission of the coronavirus as well as visualizations for Centers for Disease Control school metrics to inform local decision-making.
The Pandemic Metrics Dashboard includes a Daily Region Metrics dashboard to visualize where COVID-19 is spreading in Virginia, Weekly Transmission Extent dashboard to guide state and local officials about the effects of COVID-19 on each region and whether mitigation measures could be needed in individual communities, and CDC School Metrics to help communities and school divisions understand the introduction and transmission of the virus in schools.
“This pandemic dashboard provides data for communities to individualize and tailor response efforts to local needs,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver in a statement. “A community where cases are surging and hospital beds are filling up, for example, will require different response efforts from those in a community where cases are declining and hospital occupancy is low.”
The daily region metrics dashboard looks at a number of metrics and compares them to a high threshold. That includes daily case incidence per 100,000 people, percent positivity of PCR tests, rate of outbreaks per 100,000 people, percentage of cases among health care workers, Emergency Department visits per 100,000 people, intensive care unit hospitalizations per 100,000 people, hospital beds occupied, and hospitals having difficulty obtaining personal protective gear in the last seven days.
The weekly transmission extent dashboard, updated on a weekly basis, classifies community transmission of the virus as high, moderate, low or minimal and whether it is increasing, fluctuating or decreasing. For example, the northern region has a low transmission extent with a decreasing trend. Transmission is considered moderate in the northwest, central, eastern and far southwest regions but high and decreasing in the near southwest region.
Lastly, the CDC school metrics dashboard looks at how localities are performing on the CDC’s Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making to guide school officials’ operating decisions. VDH recommends data be interpreted in the context of the locality, with operating decisions accounting for local epidemiology, community characteristics and local capacity.
The CDC’s core indicators shown on the dashboard are the number of new cases per 100,000 people within the last 14 days and the percentage of positive PCR tests during the last 14 days. VDH is not currently tracking the ability of the school to implement five key mitigation strategies (consistent and correct use of masks, social distancing to the largest extent possible, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and disinfection, and contact tracing in collaboration with local health department).
Secondary indicators on the dashboard include percentage change in new cases per 100,000 population during the last seven days compared with the previous seven days, percentage of hospital inpatient beds in the region that are occupied, and percentage of hospital inpatient beds in the region that are occupied by COVID-19 patients.
With each core and secondary indicator, localities are classified as lowest risk for community transmission, lower risk, moderate risk, higher risk and highest risk. For example, most localities are classified as higher risk for the new cases per 100,000 people within the last 14 days indicator, and a handful are highest risk, lowest risk and lower risk.
“On behalf of the commonwealth’s 132 school divisions, I thank the Virginia Department of Health for making this dashboard available as a resource to inform local decision making to help schools navigate how and when to consider in-person, hybrid and virtual instruction,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane in a statement.
On Tuesday, 923 new cases were reported statewide, bringing the cumulative total to 147,516 cases. There have been 3,187 deaths and 10,978 hospitalizations.
The total of PCR tests completed in Virginia stands at 2,039,510, up 12,342 from Monday. The seven-day average of positive PCR tests is 4.6 percent, which is below the 5 percent rate recommended by the World Health Organization before reopening.
Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients stand at 958 statewide. That included 202 in the intensive care units and 113 on ventilators, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Ventilator use stands at 20 percent among all Virginia patients, and ICU occupancy stands at 78 percent. There are no hospitals reporting difficulty obtaining personal protective equipment in the next 72 hours.
Here are the latest coronavirus data updates for our coverage area between Monday and Tuesday:
Alexandria: 3,841 cases, 321 hospitalizations, 69 deaths; increase of 16 cases
Arlington County: 3,985 cases, 499 hospitalizations, 150 deaths; increase of 22 cases, one hospitalization and one death
Fairfax County: 20,924 cases, 2,156 hospitalizations, 586 deaths; increase of 102 cases and three hospitalizations
Fairfax City: 138 cases, 14 hospitalizations, eight deaths; no changes
Falls Church: 70 cases, 13 hospitalizations, seven deaths; no changes
Loudoun County: 6,851 cases, 432 hospitalizations, 124 deaths; increase of 21 cases and three hospitalizations
Manassas: 1,926 cases, 129 hospitalizations, 25 deaths; increase of seven cases and one hospitalization
Manassas Park: 616 cases, 55 hospitalizations, eight deaths; increase of three cases
Prince William County: 12,541 cases, 913 hospitalizations, 203 deaths; increase of 57 cases and three hospitalizations
Fredericksburg: 546 cases, 49 hospitalizations, five deaths; increase of seven cases
Spotsylvania County: 2,151 cases, 134 hospitalizations, 44 deaths; increase of two cases
Stafford County: 2,024 cases, 158 hospitalizations, 17 deaths; increase of six cases
This article originally appeared on the McLean Patch