Data Notes for the Week of July 6
Posted on Monday, Jul. 6, 2020 at 6:11 pm
Today we released this week’s data snapshot. If you’re new to the data snapshot, we publish a weekly summary of the status for each of our metrics (you can find past issues on our data and metrics page). We have a few notes for this week’s issue:
Our average number of cases per day went up again, and percent positive tests turned yellow.
The number of cases per day metric was red in the last data snapshot, and it remained red during this 14-day period. Cases per day ranged from 35 to 144, with an average of 90 cases per day. An average of 5.5% of tests were positive during this period. We are still waiting on reports from the last two days of this period, as positive tests that show up in our system are prioritized and processed by our staff more quickly than the negative. We expect the percent positivity to decrease when we receive these remaining reports (see page 2 in the snapshot for more information).
From June 20 through July 3, 1,259 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Dane County. Here’s what we know about these cases:
- 63% of cases were tested at the community testing site at the Alliant Energy Center
- 57% of cases were young adults between the ages of 18-25
- 43% of cases interviewed reported attending a gathering or party with people outside of their household
- 24% of cases (total 306) were associated with a cluster: 239 from bars and restaurants, 18 from college-aged housing (including sororities, fraternities, near-campus apartments), 20 from other workplaces, 8 from gyms, 6 from congregate facilities, 6 from daycares/preschools, and 9 from other clusters.
The lab timeliness and contact tracing metric turned red.
Lab timeliness and contact tracing are combined into one metric because we can only start tracing once we receive a lab report (see timeline below). This week this metric turned red, and 52% of cases were successfully contacted within 48 hours of being tested. However, 70% of cases had either a successful contact or contact attempt within 48 hours of being tested. This highlights the importance of people answering their phone when we call or calling us back promptly.
If we only had a metric for contact tracing, it would be green all the time; we currently have the capacity to start follow-up with cases very quickly once we receive their lab result. But that metric wouldn’t be very meaningful if it’s taking a week to process a sample or if there are delays in reporting--something we have no control over. Tying these measures together gives us insight into how quickly we can isolate infection and stop it from spreading.
During this 14-day period, contact tracers contacted 1,015 people to notify them of their positive test result and provide isolation instructions.
Keep in mind this metric is asking a lot of our lab, healthcare, and public health systems: a person has to be tested, the sample has to be transported to the lab, the lab has to test the sample and input the results in the state database, our team has to collect and process the result and call the person who tested positive, and the person who tested positive has to answer their phone when we call. For this metric to turn green, that all needs to happen within 48 hours for 85% of cases.
We are continuing to expand our contact tracing capabilities. We currently have:
- 52 people conducting contact tracing
- 27 people coordinating, analyzing, and directly supporting contact tracing work
- 70 people being hired (combines tracers and infection control preventionists as well as University Health Services staff being hired)
We continue to use tracers from University Health Services and the Department of Health Services to fill in gaps as needed.
The measure for community spread got a little better, but it’s still red.
In last week’s snapshot, the community spread metric was red and 37% of cases who tested positive didn’t know where they could have gotten COVID-19. This number is still red, but is now down to 33%. This number needs to be under 20% to be green and between 20 and 30% to be yellow.
It’s critically important for folks to keep following public health recommendations, including staying home when you’re sick or feel off, wearing a mask when out, staying six feet from people you don’t live with, avoiding gatherings and parties, and basic hygiene like covering coughs and sneezes and washing your hands often. See our website for more tips.