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How to Assess the Safety of Your County for COVID-19 Risk

Email sent: Jul 20, 2020 11:00am
As we receive conflicting signals with states and counties lifting and then reimposing COVID-19 restrictions, and daily case counts hitting record
Understand the Prevalence
As we receive conflicting signals with states and counties lifting and then reimposing COVID-19 restrictions, and daily case counts hitting record highs, it may be confusing about how to proceed. There are a number considerations to make before resuming normal activities, starting with an understanding of the safety of your county. The risk of infection and level of preparedness varies widely on the state and county level, so it’s important to consider how your local area is doing before moving forward. To understand the prevalence of COVID-19 and how strained a community’s health care system may be, we look at three main indicators: infection rate, positive test rate and ICU headroom used.
Assess the Safety of Your County
County Factors to Evaluate
Infection Rate: This rate represents the expected number of new cases that will be generated by each person who has the infection. If the infection rate is under 1, the cases are trending down.

Positive Test Rate: This rate is the percentage of tests in the county that were positive over a period of time and is used by public health authorities as a proxy for testing capacity. The WHO recommends a positive test rate under 10% based on the experience of countries that have been successful in containing the virus. 

ICU Headroom Used: This rate indicates the percentage of ICU beds that are currently occupied which indicate if your county hospitals will be able to absorb the healthcare demand in the event of an outbreak. Recommendations advise that a county should be under 50%. 
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