Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Department of Health released an update today to the Risk-Assessment Dashboard. This tool helps gauge when and how to best lift restrictions around ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy” in Washington.
The dashboard features five “dials” measuring different data points in the state. The public can view the data guiding the state’s ongoing discussions on recovery planning by visiting coronavirus.wa.gov.
The dials will be updated each week on Wednesdays.
“Thanks to Washingtonians, we continue to see positive signs in the data we are tracking,” Inslee said. “We have made some progress in testing capacity, case and contact tracing, and reducing risk to vulnerable populations. While this is encouraging news, we still have a lot of work to do to continue protecting the health of our state.”
Part of the positive trends are due to the Department of Health actively training people for case and contact investigations, and an uptake in testing capacity is due, in part, to increased numbers of federal supplies that have arrived in the state. More testing supplies are expected soon.
Current status of the dials
While there is some improvement in the percent of positive tests, the transmission rate (“R nought”) and case counts are stubbornly flat. Some Washington counties have actually seen increases in these areas.
Testing Capacity and Availability:
Daily testing capacity continues to improve, hitting 6,000 per day for the first time recently. The federal government has begun to deliver on critical supplies, but potential bottlenecks still exist. Additionally, testing positivity rate has decreased to around 5%, reflecting an increase in testing availability. There is reason for optimism on the collection kit front with a federal commitment to deliver 580,000 swabs and ~430,000 units of viral transport medium to our state.
However, near-term constraints on testing persist. The state may have logistical bottlenecks in assembling the complete kits of swabs and transport medium from the federal government. There is also a significant amount of work remaining before the state can dramatically ramp up testing volume and ensure that all communities and individuals have adequate access to testing.
Case and contact tracing:
There is some encouraging movement in case and contact tracing metrics due to the number of workers that have been hired and trained. As more people come on board, there is reason for optimism that this trend will continue.
The dial continues to show improvements in protections in long term care facilities. These results give a slight improvement from last week, but there is still work to be done to understand and address impacts to other vulnerable communities.
Health Care System Readiness:
The Health Care System Readiness dial is holding steady this week as the state works through current risks and prepares for new ones.
There has also been improvement in the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), but procurement and distribution still poses a challenge. The state is also working to get PPE to testing providers.
“Today’s update shows we’re moving in the right direction, but it also highlights the serious threat that COVID-19 still poses,” Inslee said. “These improvements are incremental, but the repercussions for relaxing too soon would have immediate and devastating effects.”
Explore the COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard.