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Increase In Greene County Cases Basically Shows A Straight Line So Far. Here's What That Could Mean.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department

It's been nearly three weeks since Greene County, Missouri reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case.  As of Tuesday, health officials have confirmed 50 positive cases in the county.


Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director">Clay Goddard told Springfield City Council Tuesday in analyzing the county's cases on a time series graph—graphing the positive cases based on the date of the onset of symptoms—he can see that the increase in daily confirmed cases remains a relatively straight line. 


First, a refresher on graphs: a time series graph is a line graph. It measures different trends or patterns over increments of time.  So, picture this:  time is shown on the horizontal axis, like the days of March listed along the bottom of the graph.


In this example, the number of positive cases discovered in Greene County would be going up the left side.

Goddard said even though the number of cases is rising, that line, across time, looks pretty straight, or 
"flat" so far, even as it continues to climb. In other words, the number of new cases each day is somewhat consistent so far.


“As I study that as a public health guy, I can arrive at one of two conclusions,” Goddard said.

“Either what we’ve done to suppress the disease is working—or the other alternative is what Dr. Anthony Fauci talks about: this disease decides to putter along, and then it takes off,” Goddard said.

Essentially, the latter is what happened in New York City, according to time series graphs showing the total number of cases in The Big Apple during March.  According to data from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygeine, the first 12 days of the month saw a relatively straight line moving upward—but by the third week of March, the number of new cases began to grow exponentially, manifesting on a graph in a steep, upward spike.

While there’s reason to hope, Goddard said, the Greene County metrics will need to be something the community continues to monitor closely.

Springfield and Greene County issued Stay-at-Home orders for 30 days, with exceptions made for those businesses and activities deemed "essential" by the orders. You can read the order for Springfield by clicking here and you'll find the Greene County order here.

The health department reports 300 people under quarantine, meaning those individuals have been asked by officials to isolate at home for a minimum of 14 days while they look for signs and symptoms of illness.   There have been at least 745 tests at the drive through clinic in the county, officials said Tuesday.

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