New Coronavirus Dashboard Frequently Asked Questions
The Baltimore City Health Department has taken feedback from residents and in consultation with our epidemiologists, has released an updated Coronavirus dashboard, now published on the front page of coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov.
From our front page, residents can see the number of new cases, deaths, and percent positivity, in Baltimore City, all via 7-day averages to account for daily variation in the data. We’ve also included the percent of eligible residents aged 12+ who have received their first or single dose of vaccine, as well as a direct link to our Baltimore City COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard and our current COVID-19 transmission level, via the CDC.
Our new “Key Metrics” dashboard, accessible via the dropdown menu, provides Baltimore City residents with the data points that help the Baltimore City Health Department determine when it is appropriate to lift the indoor mask mandate, or if necessary, reintroduce restrictions to help limit the spread of disease.
Our key metric trends are based on two-week intervals, to better illustrate rapid changes in the data, and include New Cases, Deaths, Test Positivity, Hospitalization, and Percent Vaccinated. Of note, we are tracking vaccination coverage increases within our eligible vaccinated population, which at this time includes the population in the City aged 12 and older
This update to the dashboard also aligns with the CDC’s COVID data tracker which looks at similar metrics over a 7 day period to determine the level of community transmission within a jurisdiction.
In addition to updates on the dashboard of key COVID metrics, our epidemiologists have also updated our COVID vaccination coverage map to now detail rates of vaccination across the City via CSA or Community Statistical Area. This data will help guide our mobile vaccination clinics in the weeks to come. This new map is available online at coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov. One of the key features of this update includes the ability to overlay mobile vaccination clinics held by the Baltimore City Health Department, our partners, as well as the Maryland Department of Health, as a way to connect people to needed resources.
Why are the estimates on Baltimore City’s COVID dashboard for “Latest 7-Day Average, Daily New Cases per 100K People” different from the CDC’s estimates for “Case Rate (last 7 days)” shown on the CDC’s COVID-19 Integrated County View?
The estimates are different because they are calculated in different ways. BCHD, like the Maryland Department of Health, calculates the COVID new case rate as the number of new cases in a day, divided by the population size each day. Then, BCHD uses those estimates to calculate the 7-day average. The CDC calculates the COVID new case rate as the number of cases over 7 days, divided by the population size.
Both the Baltimore City Health Department and the CDC have important caveats to their data sets. Since the start of the pandemic, BCHD reports data has lagged by one week on its dashboard because data in this range are considered incomplete due to the testing and reporting process. In the footnotes on the above-referenced webpage (accessed 9/28/21), the CDC indicates, “These data, featured on COVID Data Tracker and within Data.CDC.gov datasets, may be incomplete for recent days due to processing and reporting delays. All data are provisional”