Mar 4, 2022 - COVID

D.C. aligns with CDC in COVID-19 metrics

Illustration of a coronavirus-shaped spotlight shining on a graph with three trend lines.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

D.C. is aligning its COVID-19 metrics with the CDC’s new metrics, DC Health said Wednesday.

Why it matters: DC Health says it will use this new framework in determining future masking and testing recommendations.

  • These new metrics put D.C. in the “low” category of community level, meaning people can take fewer precautions against COVID-19.

Details: The new framework focuses much more on the health care system and hospital strain in determining how at-risk a community is.

  • It determines community level by measuring weekly case rate, new weekly hospital admissions due to COVID-19, percent of COVID-19 confirmed positive cases who were hospitalized due to COVID-19, and percent of staffed beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.
  • D.C. will also only report COVID-19 data on Wednesdays and post vaccination data on Thursdays.

What they’re saying: DC Health stressed vaccination as the best possible protection against COVID-19. DC Health data shows just over 73% of people in D.C. are fully vaccinated.

Yes, but: In an email to her constituents, council member Mary Cheh noted that D.C.’s ward-level data shows no ward with more than 61% of fully vaccinated residents, and explained that this is a result of incomplete datasets, per DC Health.

  • DC Health confirmed to Axios in an email that data reported by vaccine providers, including those in other states, may have incomplete information or illegible handwriting.
  • "Addresses represent one of the most variable and least intuitive fields for transcription, so while we usually can identify that a vaccinated individual lives in the District, the ward numbers will never be an exact match," the agency said.

However, Cheh wrote that she wants more transparency from DC Health on data inconsistencies.

  • “Residents need accurate data in order to make the best safety decisions for themselves and their families, and DC Health told me that they will look for ways to properly update the website,” Cheh said.
  • D.C.’s ward-level vaccination map does include a small note that “vaccine administration data is reported by facilities and may not be complete.”

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