For immediate release: April 20, 2022 (22-060)
Contact: DOH Communications
Public inquiries: State COVID-19 Information Hotline, 1-800-525-0127
OLYMPIA – As part of an on-going effort to improve COVID-19 reporting, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has updated the layout of its COVID-19 data dashboard to create a new, more user-friendly format. The goal of the new format is to make it easier for the public to access and understand the data provided. Along with this new format, the dashboard also integrates a new way of recording age-related testing data. This change will improve accuracy and incorporates new state rules for reporting test results.
One of the primary changes to the dashboard’s format is the addition of a navigation panel at the top of the page, splitting information into the following four sub-sections to help users navigate the site in fewer clicks:
- Current Status
- Disease Activity and Testing
- Hospital Use (formerly the Healthcare System Readiness tab)
The updated dashboard format also introduces new language geared towards easier reading for the public, such as:
- ‘Disease Activity’ instead of ‘Epidemiological Curves’
- ‘Total Counts’ instead of ‘Cumulative Counts’
- ‘Hospital Use’ instead of ‘Healthcare System Readiness’
Language regarding vaccination status has also been updated. To differentiate an original vaccine series from a booster, the dashboard will use "initiated primary series" instead of "initiating vaccination," and "completed primary series" will replace "fully vaccinated."
The dashboard will now report an individual’s age at the time of testing on the demographics tab when displaying trends for test counts, testing rate, and percent positivity by age groups. This is a shift away from reporting age at the time of the first positive test for individuals with at least one positive test and the age at the time of the first negative test for individuals with only negative tests.
Following a new rule adopted by the Washington State Board of Health, labs across Washington state are no longer required to report negative test results. In addition, the timeframe required by local health jurisdictions to report negative test results has been extended. As these changes take shape, it is likely that fewer negative test results will be included in the COVID-19 dashboard and there may be a longer lag for data to be considered complete.
Although DOH is changing the format and presentation, historical epidemiological data will continue to be available on the dashboard.