York County will use CARES Act money for local COVID-19 data dashboard

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

The York County Planning Commission will use some of the county's coronavirus relief funding to build a local COVID-19 data dashboard amid an uptick in case counts and deaths attributed to the disease.

The York County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to pay California-based Environmental Systems Research Institute, or Esri, about $71,200 for software and training for the dashboard, and another $10,600 for consulting and support.

The company specializes in geographic information systems.

"Having this package will allow us to better aggregate data from our health care providers and organizations like Family First (Health)," York County Commissioner Julie Wheeler said.

Accessing data has been a challenge for the county up to this point because of the lack of a countywide health department, Wheeler said.

A temporary patient screening and testing area, for the COVID-19 Coronavirus, is shown outside the Emergency Department at WellSpan York Hospital in York City, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The county will pay for the dashboard with funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Wade Gobrecht, assistant director of the planning commission, said the dashboard will allow the county to collaborate with other agencies and organizations to provide more information to the public.

Gobrecht said it will likely include information about local case counts and deaths, but specific details about other data were not available immediately.

There was no estimated timeline Wednesday about when the dashboard will go live, but Gobrecht said he'll have a better idea once the county orders the software, sets up the hardware and coordinates other details.

The planning commission already has a few interactive dashboards, Gobrecht said, and this will build on the existing infrastructure.

There were 19 deaths linked to COVID-19 in York County on Thursday al. As of Thursday, there had been 99 deaths in York County attributed to COVID-19 over the previous 14 days.

The county saw a total of 419 deaths linked to COVID-19 in 2020.

In total, 23,283 people in York County have tested positive for the virus, the state Department of Health reported.

The coroner's office shares a morgue with York Hospital. There's only room for eight or nine bodies at any one time, Coroner Pam Gay has said, and the uptick in recent COVID-19 deaths, combined with a rise in overdose deaths, has led to capacity issues.

The lack of space at the hospital morgue has been an ongoing problem for years, but the county is in the process of building a new morgue at the coroner's office that will hold around 30 bodies at one time.

The morgue should be ready for use by March, county officials said Wednesday.

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