Category Archives: San Francisco Bay Area

How Solano County’s COVID-19 Dashboard compares to other counties in Bay Area

[Editor: Peter Khoury ranks Solano County’s excellent COVID-19 Dashboard 3rd among the Bay Area’s 9 counties.  He also points out areas for improvement.  Read through to the end for Khoury’s call to action.  – R.S.]

A ranking of Bay Area Counties’ COVID-19 Dashboards

Phoenix Data Project, by Peter Khoury, April 2, 2020

The link article from the Harvard Business Review discusses Lessons from Italy’s response to Coronavirus. In particular they cite the need for lots of data, the need for micro-scale data, and the need for data standardization. The Bay Area is largely falling flat on all of these fronts. I rank the Bay Area counties’ dashboards below, but really they should all be unified displaying lots of consistent high quality information on all of them. At the bottom of the rankings I tell you how to take action.

These rankings are a tongue in cheek way to motivate / shame counties to improve the state of their information and communication with the public. However ideally the counties would all coordinate with each other and unify their information so that we can see trends across the entire Bay Area.


1st Place Santa Clara County

santa_clara_new_hospital_dashboard.png

Santa Clara’s dashboard shot up in the rankings from 6th previously to 1st because it is not just one dashboard it is three. I’ve shown here to the left my favorite of the three, the hospital dashboard. This includes such vital information such as ventilators available and breaks down bed availability into acute beds and ICU beds. The graphs on the righthand side of the dashboard will show evolution of hospital resources over time. Really quality really excellent information.

Two additional asks which would make it even better. Create an API or easy way to download the data. Split the hospitalized patients into age groups like Solano county does.

https://www.sccgov.org/sites/phd/DiseaseInformation/novel-coronavirus/Pages/dashboard.asp


2nd Place Sonoma County

sonoma_dashboard.png

Sonoma County’s dashboard excels. It has

  • hospitalization numbers

  • the number of tests being run

  • the date the data was collected

  • cases by county region

  • the information in text form (if desired)

https://sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=21a1653b79ba42039ff22bcb85fa5b19


3rd Place Solano County

solano_dashboard.png

Solano county promises to have much of the information Sonoma county does but isn’t quite there yet.

The one thing Solano county deserves credit for is separating the cases by age into hospitalized and non-severe. This will be incredibly useful information going forward. I would encourage Solano county to further separate out the 19-64 year old age ranges.

https://doitgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/6c83d8b0a564467a829bfa875e7437d8


4th Place Contra Costa County

contra_costa_new_dashboard.png

Contra Costa County added information about testing and hospitalizations to their website. They’re also displaying the information as evolving over time which is good. There could be much more information at a finer granularity but its definitely good progress.

https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org


5th Place Marin County

marin_dashboard.png

Not nearly as good as the Solano and Sonoma but they are still providing hospitalization numbers. Their display of information could use a lot of work.

https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/covid-19-status-update-4-1-2020-final.pdf


6th Place tie Napa and San Mateo County

san_mateo_dashboard.png

San Mateo isn’t really providing much more than a case count and deaths. They do have this broken down by age but unlike the Solano county data the age breakdown doesn’t give me much additional useful information.

It does show the cases growing exponentially.

https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus

napa_county_new.png

Napa county doesn’t break down the cases by age but it does breakdown the cases by area.

https://legacy.livestories.com/s/v2/coronavirus-report-for-napa-county-ca/9065d62d-f5a6-445f-b2a9-b7cf30b846dd/


7th Place San Francisco

san_francisco_dashboard.png

These are fixed numbers of cases and deaths with no sense of the growing crisis or the exponential growth of the virus.

https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/coronavirus.asp


Last Place Joint Alameda and the City of Berkeley

alameda_dashboard.png

The Alameda county website is incredibly flawed because of the “* Numbers exclude City of Berkeley cases.” I mean come on guys this is a local, regional, state, national, and global health emergency and Alameda County and the city of Berkeley can’t coordinate with each other?


Take Action

I have found that the best way to improve your local county’s dashboard is to start calling your local politicians and to get your friends to call your local politicians. If you do not live in the Bay Area, go to your local county’s COVID-19 website and place it in these rankings. If you find it lacking, demand more information. At a minimum the website should have the information in bold.

    • COVID-19 Hospitalizations

    • Hospital beds available

    • ICU Beds available

    • Total number of tests conducted (this counts tests run multiple times on one person)

    • Total number of test conducted on unique individuals

    • Total number of tests that were positive for COVID-19

Bay Area COVID-19 curve is relatively flat, while Solano County is spiking?

Solano County coronavirus cases, April 3, 2020
[Editor: So the “Bay Area” curve is remaining relatively flat, while Solano is curving dramatically upward?  Someone should do a comparison chart showing all 9 Bay Area counties.  – R.S.]

Bay Area curve stays flattened, UCSF Emergency Room stays quiet

broke-ass stuart, by Alex Mak, March 30, 2020

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 surge in other cities in the US, the Bay Area is experiencing an incredibly low rate of new cases by comparison.  For example, as of March 30th, New York City has 33,768 confirmed COVID-19 cases while San Francisco has 340 confirmed cases.

USA COVID-19 confirmed cases heat map, March 30 2020: coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

We followed up with our UCSF Emergency Room contact; Dr. Nathan Teismann, to ask about current and new COVID-19 cases in his ER, as well as the state of his fellow staff at the hospital, and his colleagues in the greater Bay Area.  Dr. Teismann assured us that his ER was still relativity quiet over the weekend, seeing approximately half of the patients it usually sees on a normal weekend.  (these figures are consistent with those BAS reported 3.25.20)

Dr Teismann: “Over the weekend, we typically see around 200 patients per day in the ER, and this weekend we saw less than half of that volume, approximately 80-90 people we’re seen on Saturday, about half of those patients came in because of symptoms suspected of being COVID-19.”

When asked about the state of other hospitals in the Bay Area the Doctor replied, “My colleagues at Stanford, as well as at other facilities in San Francisco report much of the same conditions in their hospitals.  For now, the rate of new confirmed, infections showing up in Emergency rooms is not unmanageable.”

I asked the doctor if he believed that our early ‘shelter in place policy’ was having an effect, Dr. Teismann replied, “It seems very likely, that the ‘shelter in place’ policy has had a significant, positive effect on containing the spread of COVID-19 in the Bay Area.”

He followed with, “We are obviously not capturing the true prevalence of infected people in the Bay Area, because so many who may have been infected are staying home and therefore will not ever be ‘confirmed’ cases of COVID-19.”

Most of the confirmed cases across the world are confirmed because the patients had severe symptoms, that is why they went to the the hospital in the first place.  Since roughly 80% of people with COVID-19 have very mild symptoms, they end up staying home and letting the virus run its course, without adding to the statistics.

The true rate of infections throughout the Bay Area is obviously much higher than can be tested, but severe cases are still low, and as of yet, not growing exponentially like they are in New Orleans or New York.  Sheltering in place, seems to be bending the curve of infections in a major way.  Nationally of course, we are not fairing as well.  Dr.  Teismann was quick to warn me that the ‘top of the curve’ is yet to come.  He sent me the projected peak of coronavirus patients from the IHME at the University of Washington, which projects that nationally, April 15th will be the beginning of the peak of hospital bed capacity for COVID-19 patients in the USA.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, see all of there projections by visiting: http://covid19.healthdata.org/

What does that mean for you?  It means that social distancing and staying home is the right thing to do.  By staying home, and restricting your contact with others, also known as ‘social distancing’, is having an incredibly positive effect on ‘flattening the curve’.   By preventing the spread of COVID-19 you are quite literally saving lives in your community, and although we are far from the end of this pandemic, take heart that the sacrifices you are making by staying home and not becoming infected, are helping our medical professionals deal with this outbreak immensely.

The good news for San Franciscans
Businesses in SF started limiting service in the second week of March, and the official order to shutter all non-essential businesses in 6 Bay Area counties, and for citizens to shelter in place was given on March 16th, but by then the majority of workers and businesses had already stopped operations.  As of today, March 30th, it has been over 14 days since large crowds stopped congregating and the circulation of the virus has been greatly impeded.  Since most cases of COVID-19 last around 14 days, if we were going to see a massive surge of infections, the odds are we would have seen them by now in our Emergency rooms.  For now, this is good news, we have been incredibly fortunate that our government and business owners acted quickly and decisively to help slow the spread of the virus.

A message from your local healthcare providers 
Dr Teismann wanted to add that at USCF there has seen an incredible outpouring of kindness, well wishes and donations from the local community.  Everything from free meals from local restaurants delivered to the hospital staff, to artwork made by local elementary school students and hung in the hospital break room.  There have been phone calls and well-wishes from patients and neighbors to the hospital, and that positive outpouring has had a wonderful and positive effect on healthcare workers.

Stay safe, stay home San Francisco.  And if you would like to thank our medical professionals think about joining the sunset applause tonight, and every night, at 7pm.  Cheer and applaud from your window or balcony to thank those shouldering the burden during this pandemic!

We will keep publishing updates, and remember, we still have a long way to go.

* If you think you have been exposed to COVID‑19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

Benicia residents get phone alerts: 6-county shelter in place extended to May 3

Order does not include Solano County

By Roger Straw, March 31, 2020

My cell phone went off twice around 1:40 pm today with an emergency notice that our coronavirus shelter-in-place was being extended to May 3.

This was a little confusing, given that Solano County issued a statement just yesterday (on March 30) extending our Shelter at Home Order through April 30th.  ?Why would the County extend for just 3 days??

A little googling reveals that once again, a group of Bay Area counties acted jointly, exclusive of Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

According to ABC News Bay Area, “The new restrictions applied to six Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo. Those six counties, plus the City of Berkeley (which operates its own public health department) announced the shelter-in-place orders would be extended to May 3 in their jurisdictions.  Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties had not announced such extensions, as of Tuesday afternoon.

The new 6-county order adds new restrictions to what residents are allowed to do as they shelter in place.  Again according to ABC News Bay Area: “In addition to the restrictions put in place for the original three-week shelter-in-place order, officials are now requiring:

    • Funerals are limited to 10 people in attendance
    • Playgrounds, dog parks and picnic areas have to close to the public
    • Don’t use golf courses, or public tennis and basketball courts
    • When it comes to sports that require you to share a ball, only play them with members of your household
    • Most construction is banned
    • All essential businesses that are still open must develop “social distancing protocol” before April 3

What is considered an “essential business” has been expanded to include:

    • “Providers that enable residential transactions” (like notaries, title companies, and real estate agencies)
    • Funeral homes and cemeteries
    • Moving companies
    • Rental car companies
    • Rideshare services

Someone should compare these new 6-county restrictions to the restrictions covered in our Solano County Shelter at Home OrderPlease send your comparison to the editor, rogrmail at gmail dot com.

COVID-19 charts and data – Bay Area Counties and California

[Benicia Independent editor – This email was forwarded to me, and it shows important information.  However, I am unable to provide links to the “Atlantic’s daily tracker.”  The Atlantic has a lot of information on the virus, but these charts may be for subscribers only.  Many thanks to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson for passing them on to us.  – R.S.]


An email from Richmond Mayor Tom Butt
Subject: FW: COVID-19 charts and data
Date: March 24, 2020 at 12:22:50 PM PDT

Interesting data………

Attached are some charts showing various COVID-19 stats. This data came from The Atlantic’s daily tracker.

Regular hospital and ICU beds are required to be reported annually to CDPH. Positive and negative tests at public and private labs are also required to be reported annually. But the number of patients broken down by County is not readily available.