The Tampa Bay Partnership launched a comprehensive online tool Wednesday highlighting county-by-county data trends in the Tampa Bay region related to coronavirus testing, cases and hospital capacity.
The tool can be used to determine where the virus has flattened and to identify any future spikes, data that can inform ongoing reopening decisions.
The data shows overall testing including the percent positives day-by-day, case trajectory, hospital capacity and hospital visits with patients presenting with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.
If trends show adequate hospital capacity and downward trajectory in overall cases, percentage of overall cases and hospital visits with symptoms, it suggests reopening is viable. However, if those trends begin to show an upward trajectory, local governments may want to consider reimplementing restrictions.
The new tool is updated as new health data becomes available, giving local governments and residents the most up to date information to inform decisions.
“We deliberately included in this dashboard the benchmarks that officially guide the re-opening of our region,” said Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. “This is the data that tells us whether we’re able to safely move forward, or if we need to pull back and reassess.”
“By having this data front-and-center, our leaders can immediately focus on any negative trends that emerge and ask: What does it mean? Why is it happening? And, what can we do about it?”
Data is included for eight counties in the Tampa Bay region: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota.
Data can be viewed by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or by county.
“We know that this virus has no respect for political boundaries, so it’s critical to view – and act on – this data as a region,” Homans said. “But the county-level data also provides us with essential insights, whether it’s identifying potential outbreak hotspots or where to access additional hospital capacity in the case of a surge.”
Current data shows that in most cases, the region remains on track for the current reopening level.
Data shows some increases in the rate of positive testing in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and Hernando counties, but the regional positive test rate is still stalled around 2.65%, down from 7.18% in mid-April.
Sarasota has the highest positive test rate at 4.19% while Pasco has the lowest at 0.9%.
Hospital bed availability in the entire region is at just over 25%, down from a high April 11 of more than 43%.
“This dashboard arms our community leaders with the facts and data they need to prioritize resources and make the smartest possible decisions during this challenging time,” Homans said. “We hope it will also provide us with a better understanding of the full impact of the pandemic, and where we need to focus our time, energy and resources to re-open and recover as quickly as possible.”
The Tampa Bay Partnership developed the dashboard as part of its State of the Region initiative with collaborating partners the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, United Way Suncoast and the USF Muma College of Business.