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COVID-19 A better gauge for infections

The OBSERVER's View

When it comes to onerous restrictions, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf isn’t much better than Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But one thing Pennsylvania has done each week should be done here in New York state, starting immediately.

Each week, Pennsylvania releases a weekly status update that breaks the state’s counties into three categories — low transmission, moderate transmission and substantial transmission.

The dashboard is designed to provide early warning signs of factors that affect the state’s mitigation efforts. The data available on the early warning monitoring dashboard includes week-over-week case differences, incidence rates, test percent-positivity, and rates of hospitalizations, ventilations and emergency room visits tied to COVID-19.

So why are we casting our gaze across the state line?

Lumping the eight category Western New York area together when talking about COVID-19 percent positive rates isn’t doing Chautauqua County residents much good because rural areas are tied with the Buffalo metro area. Basing decisions on regions of the state didn’t make much sense when it came to reopening businesses and it doesn’t make much sense now that people are monitoring transmission rates.

Since the governor talked Tuesday about monitoring outbreaks at levels lower than ZIP codes, shouldn’t daily updates on the percentage of positive tests be based on county statistics rather than regional statistics?

At least once a week, the state should provide some sort of dashboard for counties so that rural residents have a better sense of where they stand.

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