Breaking down COVID-19 county metrics maps

Breaking down COVID-19 county metrics maps

TRI-STATE (WFIE) - The Tri-State continues to see more counties enter the “red” category of their state’s county metrics map. On Wednesday, Posey County was added to the list.

However, being classified as red in one state may not translate to being red in another.

This is because Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky use different metrics to classify their counties. For example, neighboring counties like Vanderburgh and Henderson Counties could have very similar numbers, but be represented differently on their state’s metrics map.

For example, this national map shows both Indiana and Kentucky maps using the same metrics. Red represents the highest level of daily cases per 100,000 over a seven-day span. However, because Indiana and Kentucky do not use the exact same metrics, the local maps, instead, looks much different.

In Kentucky, the state map is divided into four levels of community spread, green to red. For a county to reach the red level, the sole metric is reporting more than 25 daily cases per 100,000 residents, based on the previous seven days. This is considered the seven-day incidence.

In the Hoosier State, an additional metric is used when deciding how to color-code Hoosier counties. In addition to weekly cases per 100,000 residents, officials in Indiana also use a seven-day positivity rate.

“Then, we assign a color of blue, yellow, orange or red," says State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box. "Blue has the lowest incidence of COVID-19 and red has the highest.”

14 News asked Indiana’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver why she felt the positivity rate was important in determining a county’s classification.

“It tells you, out of all the people that are seeking testing, for whatever the reasons may be," says Dr. Weaver, "how many of them actually end up positive. Then the cases per 100,000 really tells you, when you look at the full population, how many of those people are positive. We really appreciate the combination of the two, because we think it gives a better and more clear picture, specifically looking at those different counties and the number of people that live there.”

In Illinois, the state is divided into 11 regions, showing general trends across the state. Then, when health officials break it down by county, counties are labeled either blue and orange.

According to the state’s coronavirus website, these colors are determined by eight main metrics, like number of deaths, number of tests performed, and even ICU bed availability, all within a seven-day period.

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