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Improving data driving COVID-19 response in El Paso County

Posted at 8:20 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 07:23:14-04

EL PASO COUNTY — There was a very short initiation for the data and analytics team at El Paso County Public Health. The new addition to Public Health had been around only a short time when the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

The team suddenly had a mission to not only track the new virus, they were also assigned to make the information transparent and readily available to the public. “To help steer the understanding of the circumstance as well as the response,” said Stephen Goodwin who is with El Paso County Public Health Data and Analytics. The division created an online resource on the Public Health website called the Data Dashboard.

With COVID-19 there has been broader than typical interest from the general public. "Our job is to take that data, visualize it in a way that is clear and concise and present it to the public, so the public can then make the informative decisions," said team member Fadi Youkhan. The interactive graphics have evolved with questions and feedback.

Now nearly five months into information gathering the data is becoming more precise. Goodwin and Youkhan both say it is fine to follow the updates happening daily, but perspective comes from looking at what happens over multiple days. "Look at trends, look at patterns instead of taking a single day," said Youkhan.

The new dashboard now shows the total number of tests administered (positive and negative), patients who have recovered, hospitalizations, total cases, and deaths. Many people have come forward with valid concerns over whether they were seeing the complete picture of the pandemic in our region. Thanks to your input, you can now see pinpoint data on where COVID-19 is present and at what rate.

There are multiple data sheets on the Data Dashboard. More are in the works. The data pros encourage everyone to spend time exploring the interactive pages to expand understanding of the pandemic. Anyone is welcome to e-mail questions. The team is happy to offer explanations and the questions help them make the dashboard information better.

Here's a detailed explainer from the group:

LINK: El Paso County Public Health COVID-19 Data Dashboard