MONROE — A new tool from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is designed to help residents, businesses and institutions like schools make data-informed decisions at the local level on how to effectively respond to COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Activity Level Dashboard assesses infection levels in each county and in the seven Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC) regions in the state. The data is available in a table format and by interactive map.
Counties and regions are color-coded to indicate overall COVID-19 activity status — low, medium or high. Overall activity status is a summary indicator based on two data points: the burden of cases and the trajectory of cases.
Burden, also defined as case rate, is the total number of cases a county or region has per 100,000 Wisconsin residents in the past two weeks, and is described as low, moderate, moderately high, or high.
Trajectory, also defined as case change, refers to the percent change of cases in the past two weeks, and is described as shrinking, growing, or having no significant change or movement.
As of June 25, Green County has a “moderate” case rate, with a trajectory showing no significant change.
In Lafayette County, which has had a steady uptick since June 1 of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the case rate is “high.” The trajectory in Lafayette County, like in Green County, shows little movement.
Lafayette County’s case rate is among the highest in the state, about the same as Milwaukee County.
All HERC regions in the state have “high” COVID-19 activity levels, except for one region in the north-central part of the state.
Officials say the dashboard is useful as a guide for local decision-making.
“We want to make sure Wisconsinites have accurate information about the status of COVID-19 in their community. That’s why the next generation of Badger Bounce Back — a new data dashboard assessing COVID-19 activity level — is so critically important,” Governor Tony Evers said.
Andrea Palm, secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services, said the dashboard “makes it possible for local leaders, businesses and individual Wisconsinites to better understand the level of COVID-19 activity they face in their communities and to take precautions accordingly.”
“The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires a nimble response,” she said.
RoAnn Warden, Green County’s public health officer and director of Green County Public Health, said her department “will look to the COVID-19 Activity Level Dashboard to inform decisions within our community.”
Across the world, governments have shifted or are trying to shift to targeted ways to find and stop outbreaks. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls the strategy “Whac-A-Mole.” New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are requiring visitors from states with high positive test rates to quarantine for two weeks.
In Wisconsin, both state and local health officials continue to advise against travel between different areas of the state.
The Department of Health Services plans to expand the dashboard in coming weeks to include data related to disease surveillance, health care capacity and public health response. It is updated weekly on Wednesdays by 2 p.m.