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Serving the community with COVID-19 data

Our daily lives changed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. Concern over a rapidly spreading virus had us all on high alert.

To keep the community informed, the Cape Cod Commission partnered with Cape Cod Healthcare and the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment in April 2020 to create an online COVID-19 community alert heat map system showing the numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Barnstable County.

The first-of-its-kind online Community Heat Map allowed users to view cases by zip code, updated daily, using COVID-19 patient case data managed by the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Cape Cod. Data provided through the application empowered residents on Cape Cod to make informed choices about public health safety precautions to minimize the risk of infection and further transmission of COVID-19 within the County.

“We appreciate the collaboration with the Cape Cod Commission, VNA of Cape Cod, and Barnstable County,” said Cape Cod Healthcare Medical Director Dr. Kumara Sidhartha. “It brought timely, accurate information to the public during a critical time of the pandemic.”

Developing this application provided an opportunity to bring the strengths of different disciplines together in one place for the betterment of the region. Commission staff worked closely with Cape Cod Healthcare to design the user interface, which displays dynamic data sets on desktop and mobile platforms.

“It was exciting to work with innovative partners to elevate our use of technology to make a significant difference in our community during a time of need,” said Cape Cod Commission GIS Director Anne Reynolds.

Users have viewed the application 915,196 times since its inception, showing its impact on our community.

Testing technology has evolved since the onset of COVID-19 three years ago. Home test kits are now universally available, making it possible for people to self-diagnose and isolate without the need to visit a healthcare professional. Unfortunately, this means the numbers reported to the Community Heat Map are no longer accurately reflective of the conditions in our community.

Because of this, the Cape Cod Commission discontinued updating both the English and Portuguese versions of the application, effective January 31, 2023. The Cape Cod Commission will retain all data for future reference.

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