Data Scientist Questions Lapses in Santa Clara County’s Coronavirus Data Dashboard

The Santa Clara County Health Department popped ahead of the curve last month when it started reporting the latest Covid-19 pandemic stats, from hospitalization and testing to cases in long-term care facilities.

But in the last week, the county has neglected to update the daily case count on three different occasions, citing a “data update” with California’s statewide database—the Reportable Disease Information Exchange, or CalREDIE.

The update, however, didn’t stop other counties from reporting new cases.

“On one day, an electronic tool that extracts data from CalREDIE for analytic purposes was temporarily unavailable until about 3:30pm due to technical issues caused by the increasing data loads,” an unnamed state public health spokesperson told Fly. “The issues ha[ve] now been resolved. During that time, local health department users have had complete access to the system all day, and electronic laboratory reports were submitted into the system all day.”

But word from the state didn’t exactly align with answers from Santa Clara County health reps. “Providing timely and accurate data is a priority of the Public Health Department,” a Santa Clara County spokesflak told Fly. “The data analysis team used April 18 and 19 to ensure data accuracy and identify data points that would more accurately represent the trajectory of the virus in the county.”

San Francisco-based data scientist Peter Khoury—who’s been closely tracking information released by Bay Area health departments as part of the Phoenix Data Project—says that  Santa Clara County has done an admirable job of putting together a robust data dashboard. And yet, he adds, the reporting gaps give him pause.

“I’m not worried about just those missing days because I can still draw trend lines through those days,” he told Fly. “What worries me a little bit more is it indicates a little bit [of] sloppiness.”

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The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. Oh come on Fly, surely you can come up with a way to blame Trump for what ever data the county fowled up on.
    Your just not trying hard enough.

  2. I think the Santa Clara Health Dash Board is pretty darn good. What we also need is a dash board for economic activity, number people unemployed, number of businesses closed, etc.

    • > I think the Santa Clara Health Dash Board is pretty darn good.

      Rule number 1 for watching business presentations: don’t focus on what THEY tell you; focus on what YOU WANT TO KNOW.

      The SCC Health Dash Board tells the cumulative number of cases, meaning the number is only going to go up and up and up. We already know that.

      What we want to know is, the number of ACTIVE cases, and is the number of ACTIVE cases going down. Tell us something useful.

      • They are also deliberately not telling us the number of people who have died who had underlying health problems. I suspect that if that number were subtracted from total deaths, the death rate of otherwise healthy people would be a minuscule percentage of those infected. But then, Cody and Liccardo couldn’t keep the hysteria alive.

        • The Journalmof the AMA just published the results of a study of 5,700 patients in one health care system in NY. It found that 94% of those with the virus had one or more underlying conditions. The study should have gone on to determine how many of them died, and what was the true primary cause of death. Relevant data is being suppressed by the medical communities all over the country, perhaps in order to keep the hysteria alive.

        • The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has a report on the health system in the country that has experienced the most COVID-19 patients. Unsurprisingly, it’s in New York state. The findiings show that more than 90 percent of those requiring hospitalization had one or more underlying conditions.

          If you are healthy, this report suggests there is a slim chance you would ever require a hospital bed to combat COVID-19, and your chance of dying of COVID-19 is even more remote.

          Far more dangerous to the American people and our constitutional republic than the virus is the flouting of portions of the 1st, 2nd, and 5th amendments to the U.S. Constitution by various governors and mayors around the country.

          Our economy has been eviscerated by draconian business shutterings and overreaching stay-at-home orders. Helicopter money is being handed out more liberally than Halloween candy. The latter rots teeth. The fiorner eats away at the fabric of our society.

  3. I also always questioned why other counties from north to south California were reporting but not Santa Clara County. A good chuck of Latinos in San José got it through the Tacos Nacos connection.

  4. “Providing timely and accurate data is a priority of the Public Health Department” said their flak. Flaks use the expression that such and such is a priority only when they have failed in that priority. It is meaningless flak drivel, which does not contain any facts, and avoids a substantive response to the question. And there is never an acknowledgement of the failure or an apology for the failure. Also, for the most part the lazy weenie journalist who posed the question never calls the flak on the non-response at the time and never keeps pushing the issue until the flak provides a substantive response. It’s kinda like the expression “with all due respect…” which is almost always uttered when the speaker has little or no respect for the person he or she is addressing.

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