Santa Clara County bureaucrats teased transparency as they prepared for the unveiling of a supposedly new-and-improved way to report on the local spread of COVID-19.
But when the online dashboard went live late last week, it actually gave us less information than before. Only now, the daily death toll and confirmed-case count came presented in a fancy new orange-and-black infographic.
For example, while the county previously reported the number of COVID-19 patients that had been laid up in hospital beds at some point, it stopped sharing that number once it launched the new dashboard. And—unlike its counterpart in, say, Orange County—it still says nothing about the total number of tests conducted.
Fly tried to pry those numbers loose with county flak, to no avail—until a Tuesday presser—sending only canned replies about how they’re working on making the data public. “As this situation continues to evolve,” a spokesperson wrote via email, “we are continuing to assess what data to provide to the public, how that data informs decisions and how we can best share that data in a way that is useful and meaningful for the public.”
While Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody has received praise for being the first of her ilk to issue a shelter-in-place order, her department has been less transparent than counterparts in other jurisdictions.
When the news broke on Jan. 31 that the county confirmed its first case of COVID-19, Cody refused to disclose info about where the person had been.
The opacity stands in marked contrast to the county’s reporting of a measles outbreak in March 2019, when an international traveler unknowingly infected with the illness traveled throughout Silicon Valley. At the time, health officials publicized a list of every place—time and date included—that the infected person had visited in the eight days preceding their diagnosis.
When it comes to the novel coronavirus that continues to spread at an alarming pace, however, Cody and her team have kept those details out of sight.