COVID-19 cases in Maryland congregate living facilities

Five months ago, I was wondering why Maryland remove COVID-19 cases from its count in congregate living facilities (nursing homes, prisons, …). I still don’t have any answer but I found a technical solution 🙂

The Python script (in src/ in the MD-coronavirus repo on Github) just fills in the latest data for days where data is missing. On a side note, it also fix some basic issues like a reporting date in year “0200” (instead of “2020”). You can play with the fixed data file here.

To take the same example again, below is the graph of the number of cases in Sterling Care Frostburg Village according to the official data file (“GH” means “group housing”). Between mid-June and mid-September, there is no data point. Therefore, it’s impossible to calculate a cumulative number of cases in all congregate living facilities. You can see in the old post that the cumulative curve is actually going down after June.

On the fixed version below, you can see data points added between mid-June and mid-September:

Note also that the MDH could have reset the count of cases between periods of 14+ days without reporting. Fortunately, it didn’t do that and you can see the facility re-appears in the file, mid-September, with 11 cases (or 2 more than in June), instead of just 2 cases in residents.

This version now allows to correctly display the cumulative count of COVID-19 cases in congregate living facilities:

We can see that, during the first wave, in May 2020, the number of cases increased a lot, especially among residents of nursing homes. Then the curves increased at a slower pace. Since the beginning, nursing homes counted for the bulk of congregate living facilities cases. But the increase in cases happens in all facilities.

There are still some issues to be solved. For instance, some facilities seem coded under different names. Our example above is coded in 2 different ways (and I need time to go through the 200+ facilities in the list):

  • Sterling Care – Frostburg Village
  • Sterling Care Frostburg Village

For a human, they are clearly the same facility. For a computer script, it still needs to be told so. And talking about computer script, this one still needs to be cleaned …

To be continued …

As usual, you’ll find other graphs on my page about COVID-19 in Maryland (and figures above are updated with new data as they appear) and the data, code and figures are on Github (including these ones).