As a summer COVID wave shows signs of flattening, health experts are getting one step ahead, relying on a new Community Protection Dashboard to figure out how spikes elsewhere could impact North Texas.
“When we see something, for example, happening in New York and we see the beginning of a peak there, we're able to then to understand how similar or how different their situation is as it relates to infections, how many people have been vaccinated, how many people have been boosted, etc.,” said Steve Miff, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation president and CEO.
Miff said his team worked in partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Civitas Networks for Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to grade nearly every county around the country based on current and past infections, vaccination rates and when those shots were given.
“We take all that together, and the timing that's associated with it, the impact of the variants and how protective these immunities are, and are able to bring them all together to calculate how protective our community is," he said. "If we see the emergence of a wave, how likely that is to materialize into something that's significant."
On a scale of 100, Dallas County currently has a community protection index, CPI, of 60.
Currently observed national rates show an average CPI of 51.6. Nationally, the CPI range is between 41 to 83, showing a tremendous variation at the county level.
“We’re above the average meaning that we're probably doing better than most other communities. But, there's also pockets and significant vulnerability,” said Miff.
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Especially, he said, because only 40% of Dallas County residents are boosted.
With the increase in the number of cases continuing to drop week over week, Miff said he’s encouraged though cautiously so with back to school just days away.