For months, we have been collecting COVID-19 data, scrutinizing publicly available data definitions, and engaging in frequent conversations with jurisdictions to understand the data they share.
During this process, we have focused on three aspects of COVID-19 data reporting: 1) how the state defines and reports key metrics, such as testing data, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, 2) how the state presents information about COVID-19 in long-term-care facilities, and 3) how the state reports race and ethnicity data.
Our assessment below reflects both the thoroughness of Montana’s reporting and the completeness and clarity of their data descriptions. We hope this work will not only help our data users to better grasp the limitations of these numbers but also might help health officials to understand the differences in data reporting across jurisdictions.
We require data definitions to be accessible from a state’s data pages and presented in a location where it is clear they will be maintained. Examples include data definition documents, data FAQs, dashboard footnotes, or definitions appearing daily in press releases.
Last updated March 2, 2021
Some issues exist:
- does not publish what test types are included in their main testing metric
- does not provide a testing metric clearly including only viral RNA tests
- does not regularly provide antigen total test counts
- does not regularly provide antigen positive test counts
- does not regularly provide total tests in terms of unique people tested
- data for multiple key metrics is hard to discover or access
- does not provide historical tests and cases data in machine readable format
Race and Ethnicity
Some issues exist:
- does not report race / ethnicity data for tests
- reports race data for 79% of cases and 86% of deaths, and ethnicity data for 64% of cases and 68% of deaths
Serious issues exist:
- does not provide per-facility data
- does not break out staff cumulative cases state-wide
- does not break out resident cumulative cases state-wide
- does not break out staff cumulative deaths state-wide
- does not break out resident cumulative deaths state-wide
- does not break out staff cases for the current outbreaks state-wide
- does not break out resident cases for the current outbreaks state-wide