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Sedgwick County removing ‘recovered,’ ‘active case’ data from COVID-19 dashboard

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 2:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Sedgwick County on Tuesday announced changes to its community website dashboard. The county specifically said it’s removing data in regard to recovered COVID-19 patients, as well as “active cases.”

What it comes down to, the county said is that the data is difficult to track in a timely manner and the health department is focused on relaying results to people tested for the virus rather than tracking exactly when they have recovered.

“I’m not saying our dashboard’s done by any stretch of the imagination. We’ll continue to clean it, make sure it’s accurate,” said Sedgwick County Manager Tom Stolz. “We all know that the more data you can get on whatever the topic is, the better decisions you can make and the better planning process you can go through. We understand the importance of it.”

Moving forward, the county dashboard will only show the number of cases, deaths and the number of people tested for the virus.

Specific reasons for the changes:

  • The Sedgwick County Health Department staff is currently focused on the large number of positive cases within the community. Their efforts are on contacting people to give test result information back as timely as possible. The number of cases does not currently allow adequate time to monitor cases to determine or verify what day they have recovered.
  • There is a third group of COVID-19 cases emerging as the disease is able to be further studied. This group has been termed “long haulers” by the medical community and is defined as patients who either are not recovering from symptoms, or who have recovered and are now experiencing mild to severe organ issues (kidney, heart, blood clotting, etc.) as a result of their COVID-19 infection. Thus, calling someone recovered could change over a time period making any recovery data difficult to define.
  • Active cases in the community are the number of positive cases minus recovered numbers and deaths. As a result of removing the recovered data, the active cases number will also be removed from the dashboard. Medical professionals all agree there are many more active cases in the community than what is being reported to government.

“The original intent and goal of the Sedgwick County dashboard is to provide the community with a landscape of general data that can be viewed to determine the spread and impact of the virus,” the county said. “Some community members are focusing on certain aspects of the dashboard and criticizing the exactness and accuracy of these numbers, thus Sedgwick County will make every effort to remove those types of data as the pandemic continues to remain focused on the spread and impact to our community.”

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