New tool shows COVID-19 risk level for counties, states

Watch: New tool shows COVID-19 risk level for counties, states

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new weapon in the war against COVID-19 allows users to track the spread right down to their neighborhood.

With every state and county using different methods and metrics to measure new COVID-19 cases, it can be difficult and confusing to track the spread.

That’s one of the reasons why researchers from the Harvard Global Health Institute created a new interactive risk assessment map that tracks new cases per 100,000 people.

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Dr. Stephen Threlkeld is an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Memorial Hospital.

“The advantage to that is they can compare rural areas to urban areas as they put it rural upstate New York state or New York City,” said Threlkeld.

(Harvard Global Health Institute)

The COVID-19 risk level map rates counties and states by color.

Green means low risk and that the area is on track for containment.

Yellow means there are signs of community spread.

Orange means accelerated spread and red is the worst which represents a tipping point.

“It does give us an idea of where the problems are the worst and it might inspire those areas to up their game in terms of social distancing,” Threlkeld said.

(Harvard Global Health Institute)

Hawaii was the only state in the green and Arizona and Florida were both in the red.

In the Mid-South, all three states are orange.

Threlkeld said that wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either.

He said people already know what they should do to slow the spread but the map may be another good reminder.

“For example, if you’re in an orange area you might locally and certainly individually be that much more careful about where you go and what you do,” Threlkeld said.

Additionally, each color rating comes with medical recommendations.

For states in the orange, researchers recommended stay-at-home orders along with rigorous testing and contact tracing

For states in the red, the only recommendation is a stay-at-home order

“And people in the red areas they are likely having problems with their health care facilities overcrowding and they may need to be more aggressive from a municipality standpoint to address that,” he said.

Doctors said before you consider a road trip this summer, take a look at the map because it’ll help decide whether its safe travel to a certain area or if you need to wait.