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UW: COVID situation ‘improved’ across much of Wyoming, including Natrona

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City File)

CASPER, Wyo. — The University of Wyoming are offering a new interactive COVID-19 dashboard that aims to give the public a new tool for monitoring data surrounding the pandemic in a way that is “tailored for rural areas.”

The dashboard includes three maps and datasets:

  • “Three Day Incidence Rate”: gives a view of the number of new cases per 100,000 people in each county
  • “Trend Evaluation”: looks at whether the trend in new COVID cases over the last seven days has improved, deteriorated or stayed the same compared with the past 30 days
  • “Predicted Incidence Rate”: provides a statistically modeled approach to help understand regional patterns of COVID incidences

As the second map above indicates, much of Wyoming is seeing improvement in terms of the average number of new cases per day.

The new “Interactive COVID-19 Data by United States County” dashboard comes as a result of a project led by UW professors Pavel Chernyavskiy and Tim Robinson. Colton Zier, a recently graduated UW master’s degree statistics student from Basin has also assisted on the project.

The UW team collaborated with the Wyoming Department of Health on the project. Data for the dashboard comes from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering’s COVID-19 Data Repository, according to UW.

Chernyavskiy said in UW’s release that the dashboard offers some advantages specific to more rural areas such as Wyoming.

“We focus on geographic disparities in incidence at a snapshot in time — using data from a day ago — rather than trends over time,” he told UW. “We also provide a statistically ‘smoothed’ map of COVID incidence that helps the reader see geographic patterns more clearly than by using raw data alone.”

“Rates computed in rural counties can be unrealistic due to low populations, which results in small denominators for those rates. Our ‘smoothed’ map is designed to help mitigate this issue by borrowing information from neighboring counties to optimally smooth out risk by using a statistical model.”

The trend map may also be useful to public health officials trying to determine whether health regulations have had an impact on slowing the spread of the virus, according to Chernyavskiy.

Further details are available from UW.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.