Color-coded COVID confusion clarified, ABC57 breaks down the metrics

NOW: Color-coded COVID confusion clarified, ABC57 breaks down the metrics

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Color-coded metrics for coronavirus-tracking are creating confusion.

As ABC57 first reported last night, all the counties in our viewing area are currently listed in the CDC's “HIGH” COVID transmission category.

There are four levels the CDC uses to classify coronavirus transmission:

-               Low – less than 10 new cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate below five percent

-               Moderate – 10-50 new cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate between five and eight percent

-               Substantial – 50-100 new cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate between eight and 10 percent

-               High – 100 or more new cases per 100,00 people or a positivity rate of 10 percent or higher

All of these metrics apply to a seven day period and the CDC takes the higher of the two (between new cases and positivity rate) for classification.

With the exception of four counties, practically every county in Indiana is in the CDC's “HIGH” category. 

But the state of Indiana’s COVID tracker uses different metrics than the CDC's and that’s why there’s confusion around what level we’re in. Like the CDC, the Indiana Department of Health uses four levels:

-               Blue - less than 10 new cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate less than five percent

-               Yellow – 10-99 new cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate between 5 and 9.9 percent

-               Orange – 100 to 199 new cases per 100,000 people or 10 to 14 percent positivity rate 

-               Red – 200 or more new cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate of 15 percent or higher

With the different metrics for each agency (Indiana and the CDC), you’re going to hit different levels.

For example, let’s use St. Joseph County, Ind.:

-               Indiana says the seven-day case count is 100 new cases per 100,000 people and our positivity rate is 5.6 percent

O             The 5.6 percent positivity rate puts us in the state’s “YELLOW” metric.

-               The CDC says the seven-day case count is 103 new cases per 100,000 people and our positivity rate is 6.34 percent

O             Recall, the CDC takes the higher of the two metrics and in this case, that’d be the new case count of 103 per 100,000 people, which puts us in the “HIGH” category.

But whether you follow the CDC's metrics or the state’s, the data shows increases in positivity rates and new cases for our area in the last seven days.

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