Montana DPHHS ends daily COVID-19 reports
For the past two years, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has scrupulously released daily COVID-19 infection counts each day, but this practice will end on Friday.
KGVO News spoke to Magdalena Scott, head of the Division of Communicable Disease Epidemiology at DPHHS, on Wednesday, who announced the new reporting policy.
“This Friday, May 6th, will be our final daily update of our COVID dashboard,” Scott began. “We’ve been maintaining this dashboard for two years now since the pandemic began, and we’ve had it up and running for over a year and a half, and we’ve updated this dashboard seven days a week, 365 days a year. Then we retired to reporting Monday through Friday. So now we are going a step further back to purely weekly reporting, so the dashboard will be updated every Friday going forward.”
Scott said the reduction in COVID numbers has prompted the shift from daily to once-weekly reporting.
“During the pandemic, we’ve seen fewer cases lately,” she said. “This has given us some time as epidemiologists to review the data we are presenting and to see if we actually still need to present it and at what frequency we need to present it. The pandemic has changed so much in the last two years and something that a year and a half ago we thought the metrics were important, but they may not be as important this year as we have learned more and as things have changed. “
Scott said the DPHHS has been working with the Montana State Library on a daily basis during the pandemic.
“We’ve been working with the folks at Montana State Library who run the map in our ‘Epi’ department, and we’ve tweaked a few things there,” she said. “We just felt it was a good time to make some changes. We can spread some information about it so everyone knows what to expect and when to look at the data and how to interpret the data in the future.”
Scott said the DPHHS will continue to monitor the virus on a daily basis so they can stay on top of the pandemic.
“The DPHHS will continue to monitor COVID cases on a daily basis, as we have done since the pandemic began,” she said. “So just because we don’t update the dashboard every day doesn’t mean we’re going to change what we’re doing here at the county and state level. We are still monitoring reports of new cases every day. We’re investigating outbreaks, we’re doing contact tracing, and all of that work is ongoing.”
Health officials are urging the public to follow the CDC-recommended COVID-19 precautions in light of their community’s COVID-19 transmission and hospitalization rates, including the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.