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 Alabama’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 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 report total tests in a measure that captures repeat testing
- does not provide numbers for patients currently on ventilators with COVID-19
- does not provide numbers for patients currently in the ICU with COVID-19
- does not provide historical tests and cases data in machine readable format
Race and Ethnicity
Serious issues exist:
- does not report race / ethnicity data for tests and hospitalizations
- does not report cases for: Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, and American Indians or Alaska Natives
- does not report deaths for: Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, and American Indians or Alaska Natives
- reports race data for 57% of cases and 72% of deaths, and ethnicity data for 36% of cases and 61% of deaths
Serious issues exist:
- does not provide per-facility data
- does not break out staff cumulative deaths state-wide
- does not provide either staff or resident cases for the current outbreaks state-wide
- does not provide a count of total number of facilities impacted
- provides the following metrics only via email outreach: Res Cumulative Deaths statewide