Two years of strength and adaptation

Montana State Library

Montana State Library is entering a new phase of providing COVID-19 information to Montana residents with its COVID-19 mapping websites: GIS Cases and Immunization Dashboard and Data Hub. After more than two years of updating the COVID-19 GIS Data Center every weekday, the State Library will begin producing weekly reports every Friday on May 13, 2022. This follows the announcement of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) wide report COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

To support the State Emergency Coordination Center during the early stages of the pandemic, mapping professionals at the State Library quickly created a website to organize and display the COVID-19 data that is being collected and shared by DPHHS. Through the expertise of its staff, the State Library has developed and continues to maintain Montana’s COVID-19 Maps and Dashboard: MONTANA RESPONSE: COVID-19 – Coronavirus – Global, National, and State Information Resources. For many Montanas, it’s a daily habit to visit this site for up-to-date information.

In addition to changing the frequency of reported data such as new cases, hospitalizations and vaccine doses, the website will now include information on infection levels in the local community. This addition of new information to the website will further help Montana residents make informed decisions about prevention at the community level. According to CDC website“COVID-19 Community Levels are a new tool to help communities decide what prevention measures to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium or high and are determined by looking at the hospital beds used , hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

“We have worked collaboratively with the Department of Public Health and Human Services to make information on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and vaccinations available to our citizens,” said Erin Fashoway, coordinator of the Montana State GIS. “Much of the work goes into creating map-based tools and websites, such as the COVID-19 Dashboard and Maps. We have a process in place that ensures data integrity rapidly changing information. We are proud of our efforts to keep Montanans informed during this time of unprecedented concern.”

In addition to the website, State Library staff also made the raw data available to medical researchers, state and local governments, and private healthcare providers. With access to this data, these groups can perform additional analyses. The Montana State Library is committed to being a trusted source of information for all Montana residents, and the Covid-19 GIS Data Hub is a dynamic tool that achieves this goal.

To learn more about the upcoming changes, please see the DPHHS press release:

Montana State Library

The Montana State Library (MSL) helps all Montana organizations, communities, and people thrive with great library resources and services.

Montana citizens and Montana GIS practitioners have a decades-long investment in a solid foundation of GIS knowledge, partnerships, spatial data infrastructure, and data sharing tools. This investment in GIS empowers local, state, and federal government personnel as well as business, industry, education, and research personnel seeking to understand Montana’s economy, demographics, landscape, and even more.

Montana State Library staff support the coordination of state GIS in Montana to ensure that this investment not only endures, but is further expanded, strengthened, and utilized.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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