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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, May 29, 2020 1 month ago

Number crunchers: Public policy group keeps tabs on COVID-19

The Tampa Bay Partnership has created a comprehensive data 'dashboard' for monitoring coronavirus pandemic stats.

With Florida starting the reopening process, businesses face big decisions about how to operate in the post-lockdown “new normal” foisted upon us by the coronavirus pandemic. 

To help leaders and decision makers stay fully informed about the progression of COVID-19 infections in the region, the Tampa Bay Partnership — a privately funded group of business leaders focused on public policy and advocacy — has created a “dashboard” that provides county-by-county, real-time updates on key COVID-19 metrics, such as symptoms, testing and new cases.

“There is so much data that's available,” says Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. “What we wanted to do was provide a laser focus on the metrics that have been put forward by the governor, the handful of metrics that we need to hold ourselves up to in order to reopen the economy of the state and its respective regions.”

The dashboard is made up of 16 data-filled screens that provide a comprehensive picture of COVID-19 trends in the Tampa Bay region. The screens are updated as soon as new data is available, so users can quickly see whether the threat of the virus is decreasing or rebounding in their area. Statistics on the availability of hospital beds are also tracked. Go here to access the dashboard:

For a business owner, it’s a good way to determine what policies and practices to implement, such as whether to make face masks mandatory for customers, as some have begun to do.

“What's important is to watch the trends,” Homans tells Coffee Talk. “Then you can focus where there might be some issues that we need to pay more attention to. That, to me, is the beauty of this — it provides a platform for policy makers to look at, ask questions and get good answers, and then figure out if they need to take some corrective actions to move the trend lines in the right direction.” 

With some public health experts warning of a second surge of COVID-19 in the fall, paying close attention to key data now could soften the economic blow, Homans adds. “This gives us the ability to see if we are maintaining a downward trajectory," he says, "in which case we can move to the next phase.” 

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