The Indiana Department of Health is making major changes to its COVID-19 dashboard, which includes removing information that had been available for much of the pandemic.
The agency will no longer update its COVID-19 dashboard daily — opting instead to move to three-times-a-week updates. The department said the changes, effective Wednesday, are part of its continued move toward surveillance of the virus, rather than attempting to track every case.
State health officials said the move will make the dashboard more agile, along with several updates to how the data is presented and what data is included in the dashboard.
What’s going away
Indiana will update this new dashboard on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. Several states, including Washington and Michigan, have already moved to the three-times-a-week updates. South Dakota, Arizona and Ohio are among the states only updating statewide COVID-19 metrics once a week.
But state health officials said if the state sees an increase in new cases, it can easily increase the frequency of updates again.
IDOH has eliminated positivity rates with the update, which health officials said was in response to changing standards. Because of the prevalence of at-home COVID-19 tests and no reporting mechanism for those positive tests, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pushing states to move away from that metric.
IDOH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said the dashboard will focus on what she calls a “better measurement” — the impact COVID is having on the state’s health care systems and hospitals.
As a result, the state is sunsetting its county metrics map. State health officials said it made more sense to direct Hoosiers to the CDC’s map, which better accounts for hospitalizations and community spread than the IDOH map.
The state is also moving away from single-day counts of COVID-19 metrics. Indiana recently changed how it presented newly reported COVID-19 cases so it connected to the day of the positive test rather than to the day it was reported to the state department.
As a result of moving away from single-day counts, the new dashboard presents seven-day averages for all metrics. IDOH is also including indicators to show how that seven-day average compares to the week before. State health officials said the goal was to provide more context at first glance for Hoosiers using the dashboard.
The state is also now reporting reinfections week over week — including a percentage of reinfection cases from the previous seven days. It also includes new options for filtering data by demographics and geography.
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IDOH is also launching a new hospital dashboard, to replace the statewide COVID-19 hospital census, ICU and ventilator use charts. The new dashboard includes both the total statewide hospital census and the COVID-19 comparison. Unlike the cases and deaths data, this dashboard will be point-in-time data, with previous week comparisons.
Indiana will also begin publishing hospital admissions data, including by race and age.
What’s staying the same
The new dashboards will remain at coronavirus.IN.gov. And resources for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations are still available to Hoosiers.