COVID-19 data tracking changes as testing and masking strategies evolve
COVID-19 data tracking changes as testing and masking strategies evolve

COVID-19 data tracking changes as testing and masking strategies evolve

PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – Recently released data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the number of new COVID-19 cases reported worldwide has been declining since the end of March, declining almost 25% last week.

The WHO said that although cases have dropped in all regions, they have only dropped by about 2% in America.

The agency said that “these trends should be interpreted with caution as more countries are gradually changing their COVID-19 testing strategies, resulting in a lower overall number of tests performed and consequently a lower number of detected cases.”

For example, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently started measuring the risk level of COVID-19 in a community according to the number of new cases, new hospital admissions and hospital capacity, instead of just the case.

Data reported by the RI Department of Health on Thursday showed 336 new positive cases, with an increase in society’s transmission rate compared to the previous day. No new deaths were reported and COVID-19 admissions dropped to 63.

On Wednesday, Health Ministry spokesman Joseph Wendelken told 12 News the agency has stopped reporting percentage positive data as more tests are performed at home and are not reported to the state.

“As a part of Rhode Island’s shift toward an endemic response to COVID-19“There are many more tests in traditional health settings, and home testing has become the choice for many Rhode Islanders,” he explained. “Because not all of these tests are reported to the state, our percentage positive data is now much harder to interpret.”

The changes to testing and data reporting are coming as masks are now largely optional in many settings.

Dr. Leonard Mermel, Lifespan’s director of epidemiology and infection prevention, said that even when others are not, it’s better to wear a mask than nothing.

“There are different levels of protection from a surgical mask compared to, let’s just say, an N95 respirator, so there is a variation there, but with no one masking, and with prolonged indoor exposure, it is the risk factors for COVID transmission. , “Mermel told 12 News.

Right now, all but one county in Rhode Island – Providence County – is considered “medium risk” for COVID-19. The risk levels will be updated again on Friday.

Immunocompromised individuals and others at high risk are advised by the CDC to talk to their physician about wearing a mask and other precautions.

Mermel said wearing a mask has two purposes, the first being what is called “source control.”

“So someone is infected, consciously or unconsciously – and there is a lot of transmission in people who are asymptomatic – the mask will reduce the amount of viral particles secreted into the air,” Mermel said.

“It’s very, very important for infection that spreads through our airways, breathing and talking, sneezing, etc.,” he added.

If you are the one wearing a mask, it will also reduce the amount of viral particles you inhale, according to Mermel.

“When you’re out in public, you really do not know who may be at greatest risk around you,” he said. “And that’s why we again want to reduce the risk to ourselves and those around us.”

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