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COVID-19 Stats Data Visualizations Parenting

PA Update 11.18.20: Concerning Trends and School Closures

Concerning Trends and School Closures

Pa Update 11.18.20: Concerning Trends and School Closures

Sigh. My kids’ school district just announced they plan to return to virtual this coming Monday, after several weeks of hybrid instruction.  As disappointed as I am to hear that news, I get it.  Based on the numbers in my area, it really is a smart decision. 

In fact, new cases and hospitalizations are dramatically increasing across the state.  That’s not to say that all schools should shut down or go virtual – that’s an extremely complex decision that’s based on several variables.  But if your school district does end up modifying its instructional model in the next few weeks, it’s likely because health officials and school administrators are concerned by the unprecedented trends briefly summarized below.

To see the stats for the zip codes in your district, check out: PA School District Reopening Dashboard

New cases

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced 6,339 additional positive cases of COVID-19.  This is the highest one day increase reported in a press release to date.  

However, the totals reported through press releases are somewhat skewed as they often include cases from previous dates, in addition to the cases from the most recent 24-hr period.  When this happens, cases from previous days are backdated to the date they should have been reported to the state.  Backdating can provide more consistency when looking at day-to-day trends. The adjusted daily totals are reflected on the PA Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard, as well as my PA COVID-19 Statistics & Visualizations.
I typically prefer looking at this date-adjusted data.  But lately, it seems more and more cases are being backdated.  For example, of the 6,339 new cases reported by the state today, only 5,479 were attributed to the most recent 24-hour period.  The other 860 cases were attributed to previous days.  This suggests that some counties may be struggling to keep up with reporting new positives to the state.  If this is the case, these date-adjusted numbers may be incomplete (how many of tomorrow’s cases will be attributed to today?), and therefore may not necessarily provide a reliable picture for trending purposes.
Regardless of the day-to-day fluctuations, though, it’s apparent that we are in the midst of a surge – something that our state has been fortunate to not experience until now.  In 6 of the last 7 days, the PA DOH recorded more than 5,000 daily new cases.  In fact, in this last week alone, PA has reported almost 38,000 new cases*.  In the 8 months that I’ve been following our state data, I’ve never seen us anywhere near these numbers.

*Updated to reflect the true most recent 7-day count, which includes 11/11-11/17.    This was previously reported using numbers from 11/12-11/18, but 11/18 case numbers will not be reported until tomorrow. As a result, only 6 days of data were included in the original 32,000 figure.


On October 18, there were 847 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Pennsylvania.  Today, just one month later, that number has risen more than 240% as 2,904 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID.  Ventilator use has also risen dramatically – from 93 a month ago to 310 COVID-19 patients currently on ventilators throughout the state today.  More detailed numbers, including county level breakdowns are available here.

Remember back in the spring when we had to stay home to “flatten the curve”?  It’s time for us to make this a main focus again.  At our current rate of increase, it won’t take long before our hospitals reach capacity.  In fact,  the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects that Pennsylvania may have an ICU bed shortage by the middle of December, maybe sooner.

Deaths have also started to steadily increase.  However, because deaths are a lagging indicator – that is, they often don’t occur until several weeks after infection – we likely won’t see the deaths from this surge of new cases for some time.

Please mask up, practice social distancing, and do what you can to flatten the curve.

As always, stay well ~


COVID-19 Stats Data Visualizations

PA COVID-19 Update 11.11.20

PA COVID-19 Update 11.11.20

PA COVID-19 Update - 11.11.20

Another record-breaking day in PA.

According to data released by the PA Department of Health, there were 4,357 new infections reported yesterday – the highest one day total since the beginning of the pandemic.

The data suggests that these are not all just mild infections.

Hospitalizations continue to rise.  The number of patients currently hospitalized increased to over 2066 – that’s a 7% increase over yesterday.  This means that in the most recent 24 hours, (at least) an additional 142 patients have been admitted to Pennsylvania hospitals for COVID.

In addition, the number of COVID-19 patients on ventilators has surged in the last several weeks.  On October 1, there were 60 COVID patients on ventilators in Pennsylvania.  Today, 190 COVID patients are currently on ventilators throughout the state, the highest number since June.  

I will be including this data in a more detailed PA hospitalization viz later today.  Update 6pm:  New page with hospitalization details: PA COVID-19 Hospitalization Data

Please stay vigilant, #maskup, and continue practice social distancing when possible.

Stay well~

Pennsylvania Covid Data

data snapshot 11.11.20

PA COVID-19 Update 11.11.20
Key COVID-19 data metrics continue to rise throughout Pennsylvania.
COVID-19 Stats Data Visualizations

Data Update: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Data Access


Data Update: Pennsylvania COVID-19 Data Access

UpdateOver the last several months, I’ve provided you with pertinent COVID-19 data broken down by zip code and county, so you can keep a close eye on the transmission levels in your local areas.  Many of you monitor this information daily, particularly as our children return to in-person learning.

As you can probably imagine, collecting and reporting all this data is no easy feat. The zip code data alone requires analysis of thousands of rows, daily.  Thankfully, I use some powerful software that makes analysis a breeze.  But just as important is direct access to the raw datasets. In fact, much of what I report to you is not possible without directly connecting to the underlying data extracts that feed into PA’s official COVID-19 Dashboard.  Can you imagine manually entering thousands and thousands of rows of data every single day?!  There’s no way! 

PA has provided public access to this underlying data…  until now.  Unfortunately, over the last few days, the state has either changed the location of these source datasets or changed the permissions to obtain access.  As a result, I’m currently unable to update my Pennsylvania visualizations with the most recent COVID-19 data.  This includes all  School Reopening Dashboards and my PA COVID-19 Data Visualizations.

I’m hoping this is just an oversight, and that the raw data will be publicly available again in the near future.  Regardless of the cause, I’m actively working on obtaining access (or a work-around) so I can continue to provide you with this information. 

The timing is awful.  Our numbers are trending upwards.   PA reported 1376 new cases today, the second day in a row that we’ve topped more than 1300, and the highest number of new cases in months.  And it’s not just because of increased testing.  Statewide, there are 687 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19, a 48% increase over the 7-day average of 465 reported just last week on 10/1 . 

PA Covid-19 Hospitalizations October 8
There were 687 COVID-19 hospitalizations in PA on October 8, 2020. This is 48% more than the 7-day average reported just one week prior, on October 1.  Source: PA COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Today, PA reported that a total of 8299 Pennsylvanians have died, an additional 55 deaths since Tuesday.  Meanwhile, many of our kids have just returned, or are scheduled to return to the classroom in the next few weeks. 

Now, more than ever, it’s imperative for us to have a good understanding of what’s going on so we can make informed decisions.  Please know that I am doing everything in my power to get this resolved.   I’m so sorry for this inconvenience, and appreciate your patience as this gets sorted out. 

Stay well –


Update 10/9: I have access again and have updated my dashboards!! Thanks for your patience!!

COVID-19 Stats Data Visualizations

PA COVID-19 Activity Heatmaps

PA Heatmap of New Cases

Heatmaps of New & Active Cases

New cases will rise as we reopen.  There’s no debating that.  But we do have some control in how fast this spreads by remaining aware and diligent. 

To help identify where new cases are being reported and keep track of our progress, I created heatmaps showing daily new cases,  7-day averages, and 14-day totals.  These maps are adjusted for population, showing the number of new cases per 100k county residents.  In addition, there is a heatmap showing the number of active cases in each county.

These maps are interactive.  Select (or hover over) a county to see the number of cases reported.  The legend can be used as a filter by clicking on a shade. 

If you find this information helpful, please share and follow!  And please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or comments. 

Stay well,


[infogram id=”heatmap-of-newly-reported-cases-1ho16vey88p72nq” prefix=”0hE”]

COVID-19 Stats Data Visualizations

Reopening PA: Data-Based Heatmap and Graphs June 3, 2020


To help visualize how we are doing as counties begin to open, I created a reopening heatmap. 

This heatmap highlights the number of cases reported by the State of PA’s Health Department in the last 14 days, per 100k residents of the county, a key metric to Pennsylvania’s initial reopening strategy.  

This map is color-coded. 

  • Counties with over 50 cases per 100k residents are red, with darker shades representing higher numbers. 
  • Counties with between 25-50 cases are colored yellow, aligning with the state guidance that counties should have less than 50 cases per capita before moving to this phase. 
  • There is no clear benchmark for the green phase of reopening.  But for purposes of our visualization, all counties with less than 25 cases are shaded green

Please note, this is not PA’s official reopening map.  Official guidance and details regarding Pennsylvania’s phased reopening can be found here.

Some observations:

  • There has been a sharp decline of newly reported cases in Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.
  • Bucks County now has the fewest reported new cases in the last 14 days per 100k residents in the Philly Metro Area;
  • The number of reported positive cases in Chester County has remained relatively flat
  • Dauphin County, home to the PA Capital of Harrisburg, now rivals Philadelphia with the second highest number of confirmed cases per capita.

To view in full-screen mode on your Mac or PC: Click the image of the computer monitor in the upper right corner of the graphic.

[infogram id=”pa-reopening-heatmap-6320-1hdw2jw5n8zd4l0″ prefix=”1ZH”]

A heatmap only shows us a snapshot in time and doesn’t really give us much insight into how a county is trending.  For more perspective, here’s what the map looked like on 5/30: 

[infogram id=”pa-reopening-heatmap-53020-1hzj4oze3ey72pw” prefix=”vn8″]

More PA Coronavirus Data Visualizations:

ALL PA Counties – New Cases per 100K

Southeastern PA COVID-19 Stats page 

If you find this information helpful and/or interesting, please follow my social accounts and share!

As always, stay well –

COVID-19 Stats Data Visualizations

PA OFFICIAL Reopening Guidance

PA Phased Reopening Map June 5 2020

Southeastern PA has officially moved from the red phase to the yellow phase.

This includes:
        • Berks County;
        • Bucks County;
        • Chester County;
        • Delaware County;
        • Montgomery County;
        • Philadelphia County; and
        • Schuylkill County.
PA Phased Reopening Map June 5 2020

Source:  Gov Tom Wolf’s Twitter Account ; Obtained 6/5/20

Click here for for more detailed official guidance on Reopening PA

To see my data-based heatmap, click the image below:

So what does transition into yellow mean?

Restrictions that are eased:
    • Stay at home order lifted for aggressive mitigation;
    • Gatherings are permitted up to 25 people;
    • In-person retail permitted, curbside pickup or delivery preferred;
    • Outdoor dining permitted starting June 5;
    • Child care open, complying with guidance.
    • Dog groomers are permitted to open, complying with guidance.
Facilities that remain closed:
Restrictions that remain in place:
    • Telework must continue, if possible;
    • Businesses with in-person operations must follow safety orders;
    • Restrictions in place for prison and congregate care settings;
    • Masks are recommended to be worn out in public, and required for entry into businesses that serve the public.
red yellow and green

Source:  Gov Tom Wolf’s Twitter Account ; Obtained 6/5/20

My PA Data Visualizations:
COVID-19 Stats Data Visualizations

Reopening PA: Data-Based Heatmap and Graphs May 30, 2020

Counties are starting to open!!  I’m so excited, and anxious, and nervous, all at the same time… 

Naturally, being the data nerd that I am, I want to follow the counties as they move from one phase to the next.  So I created my own reopening heatmap using the number of cases reported by the State of PA’s Health Department in the last 14 days, per 100k residents of the county.  Please note, this is not PA’s official reopening map.  Official guidance and details regarding Pennsylvania’s phased reopening can be found here.

Of course, a heatmap only shows us a snapshot in time and doesn’t really give us much insight into how a county is trending.  So to provide more context, I also created a few graphs similar to the ones featured on my PA COVID-19 Stats page for all counties in the state.  If you’d like more details about a particular county, just use the drop down in the Individual PA County chart. 

And just for fun, I’ve included an animated bar chart at the bottom of the page so you can watch the daily change in each county over time 🙂  

If you find this information helpful and/or interesting, please follow my social accounts and share!

As always, stay well – 

[infogram id=”pa-reopening-heatmap-53020-1hzj4oze3ey72pw” prefix=”MeB”]

[infogram id=”pa-graphs-for-reopening-page-1ho16vev5dg72nq” prefix=”tKw”]

COVID-19 Stats Data Visualizations

Reopening PA

Reopening PA

On April 22, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf announced a plan to slowly reopen Pennsylvania. The state will open in three phases: red, yellow, and green.  Here is a synopsis of each of the phases: 

Source: “Process to Reopen Pennsylvania,” PA Governor’s website.

Currently, all Pennsylvania counties are in the red phase.  According to the PA Governor’s website, a county can become a candidate to reopen and move to yellow if they, “on average for the past 14 days, had 50 or less new cases per 100,000 residents per day.”

There seems to be some confusion as to what that means.  Specifically,  it is unclear whether the 50 case per 100k guideline applies to daily new cases, or the total number of new cases in a 14 day span.  I apologize in advance if this is hard to follow – it’s been exceptionally complicated to sort out, but I’m going to try lay out as straightforward as possible since it’s such an important topic.  This calculation directly impacts when we will be able to start reopening. 

UPDATE: 5/26/20  Governor Wolf clarified the guidance (right after I posted this of course!) The target for each county is less than 50 total new cases in the last 14 DAYSper 100,000 residents.  Check out the PA COVID-19 Dashboard to see where we stand according to this standard.  Keep reading below to see what all the confusion was about. 

Standard: 50 cases per day, per 100k residents?

I interpreted the state guidance to mean that each day, a county should have no more than, on average for the last two weeks, 50 new cases per 100k residents in the population.  This essentially would equate to daily new cases of less than 50/100,000 or .05%.  Using this formula for the standard, the Philadelphia area (as well as the entire state) would currently make the list to be considered for the yellow phase. In fact, in SE PA, only Berks county has even (briefly) surpassed this threshold throughout the course of this pandemic.  

Here are graphs showing the daily average of new cases per 100k residents of the population for each of the counties in Southeastern PA:

[infogram id=”newly-confirmed-covid-19-cases-per-100k-residents-1h7j4dpxvqyx4nr” prefix=”W1p”]

However, this guidance may not be stringent enough to prevent further spread.   

OR: A TOTAL of 50 cases per 14 days, per 100k residents?

Montgomery County and some news outlets, such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, have provided data using different formulas.  This table was provided on Montco’s facebook page

SE PA Standard for Reopening
Source: Montgomery County Public Facebook Page, April 25, 2020

So first and foremost, I want to say that Montgomery County has done a terrific job in keeping the public informed with their transparency, and the various ways they have made data available to the public.  However, I have a few major concerns with this chart.

Montco targets are calculated using a total of 50 cases per 100k residents in 14 day period

First, let’s go over how these targets are calculated.  It appears they are taking the population divided by 100,000 and multiplying by 50 to determine the total number of acceptable cases in a 14 day period.  This means the threshold they are using is a total of 50 cases per 100k residents in a 14 day period, NOT 50 new cases per 100k residents per day.  They then take this two-week total, and divide it by 14 to determine the target number of new cases per day.

Calculating the targets using this formula creates goals that may not be attainable for several countiesThe daily benchmark ends up being 1/14 of 50 per 100,000, or .00357%.  In other words, in order to qualify for the yellow phase, daily new cases, on average over the course of a 14 day period, can’t total more than .00357% of the county’s population.    If this is the case, Philadelphia’s growth rate would have to be less than .54% to get down to only 57 new cases a day That is a doubling time of about 129 days!  That is unlikely, if not impossible, without a vaccine!  We have been under a stay-at-home order for a month, our growth rates are flat, and we are nowhere near these targets. I will analyze this in further detail in a subsequent post.

The use of cumulative totals makes it impossible to meet targets (literally!)

Montgomery County appears to be using the TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES to determine the current 14 day average.  The Philadelphia Inquirer also used the total number of cases in their map.   Here is a table showing the last 14 days totals as of 4/23/20, along with the 14 day average, for each county in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  My calculations match closely with Montgomery County’s ‘Current – 14 Day’ metric. 

Average of COVID-19 Total Cases SE PA Last 14 Days

As much as I love tables with data, I find it’s much easier to visualize through graphs… so here is the same information (minus the average) in a chart:

[infogram id=”total-covid-19-cases-by-county-for-14-day-period-through-423-1hke60wm9xj345r” prefix=”qx9″]

Notice how the total steadily rises over time?  The total number of cases is, by definition, cumulative.  The total will either stay the same or increase, but it will not declineAs a result, our ‘current’ status will never decrease for as long as we are using the total to determine our average. 

Let me give you an example to demonstrate.  Let’s say we have ZERO new cases from now until May 8th.  Here’s how our hypothetical table would look:

And to visualize, here’s a graph showing the same information: 

[infogram id=”hypothetical-total-covid-19-cases-by-county-for-14-days-with-0-growth-1ho16v8kw8ev2nq” prefix=”vDJ”]

Even though we have zero growth – that is, no new cases – in this hypothetical, our 14 day averages skyrocket!  The table below demonstrates our no growth scenario compared to our current totals as calculated by Montco.  The columns in red show how much these metrics increase. 

Table Demonstrating Zero Growth

As you can see, it is NOT POSSIBLE to meet the targets set forth in Montgomery County’s table using this method.  

So what measures should we use, if not total cases?  Well for one, new cases will help us identify trends much better than cumulative totals.  Look out for another post soon where I will explore this topic further!

Thanks for reading!  If you found this information informative and/or useful, please follow me on social media and share!


Stay Well!