Tag Archives: Carol J. Bova

VDH’s Data Update Problem

by Carol J. Bova

Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia’s public health officials say they want to “follow the science” and “follow the data” when managing the COVID-19 lockdown. Unfortunately, the data keeps changing.

Last week the Virginia Department of Health made 1,021 changes to the dataset of regional COVID-19 cases by onset date between March and October — adding 1,361 cases to the total. Forty-five percent of the dataset’s 2,258 regional entries from February through October were changed. The VDH dashboard has no footnotes explaining why the changes were made or the source of the new data. Continue reading

Reality Check: COVID Forecasts and Cases


by Carol J. Bova

Since mid-April, 2020, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has reported weekly on information from the University of Virginia (UVA) Biocomplexity Institute COVID-19 Model and RAND Corporation. One aspect of these reports is a forecast of weekly cases; another gives date ranges as to when regions are estimated to exceed hospital surge capacity.

Week after week, adapted scenario after adapted scenario, the reports kept advancing the dates when surges would impact hospital capacity. That dire scenario has yet to occur. Continue reading

Update on Virginia K-12 School Outbreaks

by Carol J. Bova

As the COVID-19 epidemic regains momentum this fall, the virus has crept into a few public schools in Virginia. Seven of ten outbreaks in progress are in the Southwest Region where there is significant current and rising community spread. The other three in the Central and Eastern regions where several September school outbreaks have now ended.

The  Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Outbreaks report shows 43 outbreaks in public K-12 schools, with 227 cases, as of Nov. 6. 

The K-12 School Dashboard lists 35 as of October 30th, with October 23 as the most recent date VDH was notified. The total case number for those 35 isn’t known because cases in the two-to-four range are suppressed, showing an asterisk instead. Unfortunately, suppressing those small numbers makes it impossible to see exactly how many cases are involved with the eight new outbreaks and how the number might have increased or decreased since the previous report.

For what the data is worth, here is the list of schools with outbreaks in today’s report, as of October 30th, showing whether they are “in progress,” “closed,” or “pending closure” in the official system.

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A COVID Update Before the Winter Surge

by Carol J. Bova

As the election furor dies down, interest will turn to the expected winter surge in COVID-19 cases. Before we get caught up in the onslaught of dire predictions in the news and resultant handwringing over national and worldwide numbers, let’s look at Virginia’s numbers.

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