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Here’s how News 6 is tracking cases of COVID-19 in Florida

News 6 creates dashboard to better track cases of coronavirus in Central Florida

Coronavirus antibody testing starts in Volusia County
Coronavirus antibody testing starts in Volusia County

ORLANDO, Fla. – On Friday, May 1, WKMG published an in-house COVID-19 dashboard on its website ClickOrlando.com to showcase of the novel coronavirus in Florida in an easy-to-understand platform.

Read on to learn how database is maintained by News 6 WKMG and how the information is verified.

What’s a dashboard?

In the world of data-visualization, a dashboard is a series of graphs, charts, and/or statistics that help to “visualize” a story. In some cases, dashboards are preferred over single images or infographics of a graph or chart as it provides a kind of one-stop-shopping for the end-user (a lot of information in one-place).

Why should I care?

For this particular dashboard, whether you are closely or casually following the COVID-19 pandemic, ClickOrlando.com’s Florida Coronavirus Dashboard gives you a daily snapshot of the spread of COVID-19 around the state.

Isn’t there already a COVID-19 dashboard put out by the state each day?

Yes, and you can find it here. One thing, however, about the state dashboard is that it pushes out a lot of information… sometimes too much for some of our audience.

Why pick ClickOrlando.com’s over the state dashboard?

With the state dashboard, a user has to click and scroll through a series of tabs to get to one particular county. Data on that county is also broken down between residents and non-residents and doesn’t show the full amount without doing a little arithmetic. On our dashboard, a user simply hovers over or clicks on a county on our Central Florida map to get the most current information. Users can also hover over the bar graphs for specific data for each day.

What counties do you cover?

Instead of 67 counties covered by the state dashboard, we drill down to just ten: Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia.

How up to date is your dashboard?

We update the dashboard twice a day- around 3 p.m. and again after 7 p.m. The reason: the Florida Department of Health releases data on cases and deaths once a day in the late morning or early afternoon. We go with 3 p.m. so we are sure we are getting the latest numbers in case there are any snags in state tallies. We update it again after 7 p.m. with national data.

Methodology?

First of all, methodology is a fancy word that simply means among other things, where did you get your info, how did you get your info, and how are you going to tell me about your info.

We get our info from just two sources: the aforementioned state dashboard and from a group called The COVID-19 Project.

The state dashboard data is pretty straightforward: it gives us that county-by-county breakdown, the amount of cases in the state, and the amount of deaths, all of which we simplify. Like we said, this info is updated once a day in the late morning/early afternoon.

The reason we use COVID-19 Project data is because that group collects numbers from all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. That data is broken down to show a full picture of what is going on in each state, territory, and DC. We use the COVID-19 Project for two different infographics: the WKMG Dashboard and our Coronavirus Infographic. On the second project, we have a state-by-state breakdown as well as national and international data and how the U.S. is doing compared to several other countries (you should check it out).

COVID-19 Project data is released each day after 6pm which is why we do our second update of the dashboard after 7 p.m. That’s also when we update the Coronavirus Infographic.

Anything else?

There’s one more data-visualization you should check out: Florida Coronavirus Daily Totals. This infographic is updated around 3 p.m. as well and visualizes Florida’s COVID-19 curve (we’ve been tracking new cases and new deaths each day in the state since March 15th). When we talk about flattening the curve, this is the infographic that shows you what that curve looks like.


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