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Public Health unveils new graphics to illustrate data on coronavirus cases

Coronavirus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern Public Health launched a new feature to better show where we are on the curve and how close we are to flattening it.

Before, Public Health’s updates consisted of a map, a chart, and a list of numbers.

Now, it’s an array of graphics and charts to present their information in a more visual manner. 

In the “current cases” chart, the blue bars count the new cases each day, so we can see the growth over time. The white line shows  all the total cases we’ve ever had, so that’s a line that will always go up. The green line shows active cases, only counting people currently infectious, not people who are over the virus.

To flatten the curve, Public Health is looking for the blue bars, or daily cases, to decrease. They are also looking for the green line to go down, as more people recover.

“We hope to see that the number of active cases will stabilize or decrease, as this will be an indication that there are fewer people in our community with COVID-19,” said epidemiologist Kim Hernandez.

The graphs also illustrate a new way of counting. Before, positive cases were counted on the date a person got test results back. Now, positive cases are attributed to the date a person took the test.

“Right now we’re not 100% sure that the daily new cases have gone down. As mentioned, with a specimen collection date, we will need a few days to see and that there aren’t pending tests,” Hernandez said.

In the “case status” chart, the green shows how many have recovered. The blue shows how many are isolated at home. The pink shows how many are isolated at a hospital. And there’s a small sliver of purple counting deaths.

In the pie chart, you can compare the percentage of tests have come back negative versus positive. The largest chunk of the pie is pending tests.

As for the age chart, the numbers are now in bar graphs. However, there are still just four categories and no further breakdown of age range.

“We hope this is another way to further identify that the majority of our cases have been among those in 18-49 age group,” Hernandez said.

The map is the most unchanged from before. While there is a faint outline of major highways, the geographical regions still do not list the cities in each.

Public Health will now update these numbers once a day, instead of twice like before.

That means statistics like the number hospitalized and the number recovered will be given daily instead of weekly.

“We are hopeful that we are flooding in the curve—it‘s unfortunately still too early to know,” Hernandez said.

While this dashboard is a helpful visualization, some of the most pressing information wanted by the community like gender, race, and city are still not given.

To see all these graphics for yourself, you can visit kernpublichealth.com.

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