Source: Washington State Department of Health
Dashboard update schedule
Effective December 20, DOH updates its dashboard every Monday-Saturday, with the following exceptions.
- Federal and state holidays (e.g., December 25, January 1)
- COVID-19 death data is updated Monday-Friday only. We add the counts collected on weekends to the following Monday and Tuesday reports.
- COVID-19 vaccination data is updated on alternate weekdays (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays).
Time delays and lags
Minor time delays in the collection of laboratory testing data, confirming cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccinations occur regularly due to processing and reporting variation between data sources. This variation is due to differences in individual actions, laboratory capacities, and case confirmation and reporting processes.
After analyzing time lags between steps, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) increased the period of incomplete reporting for most metrics to 10 days to ensure that 90% of data are accounted for in our posted numbers. For each metric shown on a time trend, the incomplete data period is shown in light gray. We provide a Learn More link with more detail on the period of incomplete data.
When health care providers in Washington state (including hospitals, pharmacies, and primary care providers) give a patient a COVID-19 vaccine, they are required to report it to the Washington State Immunization Information System (IIS) within 24 hours. Most vaccination data should appear in this dashboard within seven days after the vaccine is given.
Health care providers started reporting COVID-19 vaccines to the IIS December 11, 2020, when the first Emergency Use Authorization was approved. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was added to the list of authorized vaccines in February, 2021. The first doses of Johnson and Johnson were administered March 3, 2021 and data for these doses was included on the dashboard beginning March 10, 2021.
The doses given data on the dashboard includes all COVID-19 vaccinations reported to the IIS since the first Emergency Use Authorization was approved (December 11, 2020). Starting with publication on April 30, 2021, any doses given to people less than 16 years of age will be excluded from data on people vaccinated. This is based on the current minimum approved age for vaccination and will be adjusted as the approved age expands.
Number of infections
Public health experts agree that the true number of people who have been infected with COVID-19 in Washington greatly exceeds those that have been laboratory-confirmed. It is very difficult to know exactly how many people in Washington have been infected to date, since most people with COVID-19 experience mild illness and testing is still not widely available.
Effective December 16, 2020, case, hospitalization, and death counts include both confirmed and probable cases. Confirmed cases are those where individuals had a positive molecular test result for COVID-19. Probable cases are those where individuals had a positive antigen test result for COVID-19, but no positive molecular test result. Our dashboard includes antigen test results dating back to June 2020, when they were first reported in Washington.
A “COVID-19 hospitalization” is a Washington resident identified using case investigation data in the Washington Disease Reporting System (WDRS) or linkage with Rapid Health Information Network (RHINO) records as hospitalized with confirmed or probable COVID-19. Beginning April 30, 2021, we will use data entered into WDRS to assign the earliest hospital admission date. Only if an investigator doesn’t provide a hospital admission date, we will use the earliest hospital admission date from RHINO. Prior to April 30, 2021, we assigned the earliest hospital admission date whether it originated from WDRS or RHINO.
Deaths are reported to the state by health care providers, medical examiners/coroners, local health departments, and others. For this reason, the statewide count of deaths often lags behind the counts of local health departments.
As of December 10, 2020, death counts on our dashboard reflect those in our official vital records database (the Washington Health and Life Events System) where the cause of death was confirmed or suspected to have been COVID-19. If COVID-19 is later ruled out as the official cause of death, we will remove these deaths from our dashboard. We no longer report preliminary death information recorded in other systems.
On December 16, we encountered a timing issue that resulted in a temporary decrease in the death count published on Friday, December 18, 2020. We expect these deaths to be added back over time, as we receive final death certificates.
Two important data issues continue to affect results presented on the testing tab: 1) the delayed entry of negative lab results into our data system; and 2) the lack of an assigned county for about 21% of negative test results. These issues impact some counties disproportionately. Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to work on a sustainable solution.
Effective August 25, 2020, DOH changed the methodology for reporting test results. The total number of tests are now reported instead of the total number of individuals tested. New positive and negative test counts include all molecular tests (by specimen collection date) of individuals who have not previously tested positive. Multiple test results from the same day are counted only once and we exclude repeat tests on an individual after the first positive result. This methodology has been applied to the entire dashboard timeframe. The changes in our testing methodology did not affect dashboard testing trends.
Healthcare System Readiness
WA HEALTH is Washington’s Healthcare and Emergency and Logistics Tracking Hub. Washington’s acute care hospitals use WA HEALTH to submit information to the DOH about resources available to care for Washington residents.
WA HEALTH is a dynamic data collection system which receives data from hospitals daily as information is available. We consider the most recent 6 days of data to be “incomplete” because it takes up to 6 days for data collection, quality checks, and reporting.
Trend in hospital admission rate
The trend in hospital admission rate metric refers to the trend in 14-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population. This metric is calculated by summing the hospital admissions for the most recent 14-day period, then dividing by the state population and multiplying by 100,000:Number of hospital admissions with an admission date in the 14-day period:over:State populationx:times: 100,000
Percent ICU occupancy
The percent ICU occupancy metric refers to the average 7-day percent occupancy of ICU staffed beds. This metric is calculated by summing the statewide ICU Capacity and Occupied beds for each day in the recent 7-day period, then dividing the ICU Occupied beds by the ICU capacity beds and multiplying by 100:Number of ICU beds occupied during 7-day period:over:ICU bed capacity during 7-day periodx:times: 100
Metrics calculated using population denominators may have changed slightly April 12, 2021. On that date, we used Washington Office of Financial Management 2020 estimates to update population estimates on the DOH dashboards (April 1 official population estimates | Office of Financial Management (wa.gov)).