ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The University of Texas (UT) has a new way to monitor the number of coronavirus cases in the state.
When walking around downtown Robyn Taylor probably wasn’t thinking about COVID case numbers, but when we asked her, she said it’s important for her to be up to date on the cases.
“Firstly, my son is in school here, secondly my husband sees his parents quite often and they are in their 80s, and we don’t want it to get back to them since they are a vulnerable population,” said Taylor.
UT has been building pandemic preparedness tools for the State of Texas with their pandemic app since the swine flu hit back in 2009.
“The user can put in, ‘This is going to be a deadly pandemic, this is going to be a mild pandemic, it’s going to spread quickly, it’s going to spread slowly,’ and then they can watch how it might play out across the state and see the impact of intervention measures like schools,” said Dr. Lauren Meyer, consortium director.
Leaders in the University of Texas at Austin’s COVID-19 modeling consortium have been advising local, state, and national leaders, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
“The goal of this dashboard is to provide up-to-date information to the general public for schools, for health care providers, hospitals, and policymakers from local to county and across the state to help them understand what the situation is as it unfolds, and to protect our families and communities,” said Meyer.
“Even though we have plateaued you don’t want to get too comfortable and then have the numbers spike up,” said Taylor.
And the UT dashboard will help parents like Robyn stay up to date with the probability of future cases to keep her family safe.
Meyer says with the dashboard you can look up what situation your own community is in.
Just type in “Abilene” and the data for the Key City and Taylor County will pop up.
The numbers you see explain three key data points:
- The reproduction number, which for Wednesday is showing less than 1, which means the epidemic should be declining at least currently, according to Meyers
- The probability the epidemic is growing, which is 44% as of Wednesday,
- The 14-day change, which they are currently estimating at 2% fewer infections Wednesday than 2 weeks ago
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