Arizona debuts weekly COVID-19 dashboard with new lags in reporting

Mar 2, 2022, 1:17 PM
(Arizona Department of Health Services)...
(Arizona Department of Health Services)
(Arizona Department of Health Services)

PHOENIX – After nearly two years of daily updates, the Arizona Department of Health Services debuted the weekly version of its COVID-19 dashboard on Wednesday.

The revised dashboard introduces reporting lags of four weeks for deaths and two weeks for hospitalizations.

The implementation of lags created some breaks in continuity from the daily reports. For example, the dashboard total for COVID deaths was 238 lower Wednesday than in Saturday’s final daily update.

However, the changes in methodology will allow for data to be more complete by the time it’s released going forward.

“Shifting to weekly updates is consistent with other infectious disease reporting and in line with how public health looks for trends,” Jessica Rigler, the ADHS assistant director overseeing the Division of Public Health Preparedness, said in a blog post Tuesday.

“Rather than daily numbers that fluctuate according to when laboratories and others operate, a weekly update provides a clearer picture of what’s happening with COVID-19 metrics.”

Wednesday’s summary represents the reported changes from the week ending Feb. 19 to the week that ended Saturday. The update showed 9,647 new COVID cases and 449 deaths, putting the state’s documented totals at 1,980,769 infections and 27,708 fatalities.

The reported death total had been up to 27,946 before the four-week lag was introduced.

When announcing the move to weekly updates last month, ADHS noted that at least 34 other states didn’t provide daily reports. The change was supported by health care leaders across Arizona.

“The state and our hospitals are proud of what this data reporting effort has meant to all Arizonans during such a challenging time,” Dr. Richard Carmona, the former U.S. surgeon general hired as an adviser for Arizona’s public health emergency policies, said in a Feb. 18 blog post.

“We look forward to this partnership continuing to keep all of us informed while acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic is moving toward a new phase for which weekly reporting can provide the information we all need to make informed decisions.”

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Arizona debuts weekly COVID-19 dashboard with new lags in reporting