The Colorado School of Public Health launched a new website that provides detailed, county-level data tied to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. The Colorado Population Data Dashboard is designed to help local public health agencies (LPHAs), county commissioners, community leaders, and the general public make more informed short- and long-term decisions about protecting public health.
The website provides health and economic data for each Colorado county. The data categories include:
- COVID-19 surveillance indicators, including past 7-day positivity, case, test, hospitalization, and death rates
- Demographics, including age, ethnicity, and race
- Social and economic factors, such as education, unemployment, and health insurance
- Health risks posed by chronic diseases, such as diabetes
- Mental health issues, such as suicide, depression, and alcohol use
- Economic activity, including weekly unemployment filings
- Public assistance enrollment, such as Medicaid enrollment
- Mobility patterns within and across counties
- Challenges to physical distancing, such as housing, population density, and job type
The Colorado School of Public Health developed the website and dashboard from a host of federal, state, and private data sources. The school also worked (and continues to work) closely with a diverse Stakeholder Advisory Group that includes representatives from LPHAs, county commissioners and their appointees, the Colorado Hospital Association, the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials, and Colorado Counties, Inc.
The dashboard gives local communities a clearer picture of the impact of COVID-19 and how to respond to it, said Jonathan Samet, MD, MS, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health.
“Modeling data at the state level is not sufficiently granular for local decision-making,” Samet said. “That’s true not only for those in public health but also for people who want to know where the epidemic is going on in their community, the local economy, and their own lives.”
Tatiane Santos, Phd, MPH, a member of the Colorado School of Public Health COVID-19 Modeling team overseeing the development of the website, said the dashboard data also helps to illuminate the intertwining of public health and the economy, a key to effective response planning by stakeholders. Too often, there has been an “artificial separation” between the two, Santos noted.
“We cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy population, and we cannot have a healthy population without a healthy economy,” she said. Santos, who is a senior research instructor for the school on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, added that she foresees the dashboard data continuing to assist communities even after the grip of COVID-19 lessens.
“While the project coalesced around the pandemic, it’s really intended to outlast the pandemic and help to monitor its long-term impacts and recovery,” Santos said.
The website development was possible with philanthropic support from the Gates Family Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, and an anonymous donor. Samet said the site supplements state and county-level data from the COVID-19 dial dashboard maintained by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, with whom the Colorado School of Public Health has a “shared vision” to protect individuals and communities.
“The website is consistent with our mission for the state of Colorado to advance public health by putting needed information in the hands of decision-makers and the public at large,” Samet said.