How severe is the pandemic in our community?

How severe is the spread of COVID-19 in our community? Though state and local dashboards provide lots of numbers, it’s often unclear how to interpret them — and hard to compare them to other places.

Researchers at the Harvard Global Health Institute are leading a collaboration of top scientists who have joined forces to create a unified set of metrics, including a shared definition of risk levels — and tools for communities to fight the coronavirus.

The collaboration launched these tools Wednesday, including a new, online risk-assessment map that allows people to check the state or the county where they live and see a COVID-19 risk rating of green, yellow, orange or red.

Payette County, Idaho and Malheur County, Oregon are both in the red zone, showing the highest level of risk of more than 25 new daily cases per 100,000 people. This indicates unchecked community spread and according to the Harvard Global Health Institute, “stay at home orders are necessary.”

At the red level, “jurisdictions have reached a tipping point for uncontrolled spread,” according to the collaborative’s guidance. At this level, “you really need to be back at a stay-at-home advisory,” said Ellie Graeden of the Center for Global Health, Science and Security at Georgetown University, which is part of the group that developed the metrics.

To learn more from the Harvard Global Health Institute, read their Key Metrics for COVID Suppression, which explains how they assess core metrics for the data used in the interactive map.

It’s important that everyone who lives in Malheur County and our neighboring high risk communities understand the what a critical moment we are in to slow the spread of COVID-19. Read and share guidance from Safe Strong Oregon and other reputable sources and talk with your household about how your actions can reduce the risk for your family and our county.

Article adapted from NPR.

2 thoughts on “How severe is the pandemic in our community?

  1. The only reason you are showing more positive, is because NOW there are more tests and it could be showing that these people have HAD the virus.. My family and I have had the virus, we were not counted or tested… Your numbers are deceiving to the public and causing another scare… YOU are the problem just like the MEDIA on tv.. Stop this nonsense!!!!
    Linda Rasmussen

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    • Linda, that is simply not true. These reports are only from tests done to show active infection. They are not antibody tests. Each positive person is assigned a case investigator and is isolated until they are no longer infectious. Only then are they counted as recovered. We do not intend to scare people, but must present the facts and do what we can to keep the virus from spreading further. You are welcome to call our office at 541-889-7279 with questions.

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