THIS WEEK: Searching for a trend

COVID-19 statistics can be spun any way you want them

MOLINE, Ill. — We're told restrictions on public gatherings will be changed if we see a downward trend in COVID-19 numbers.

But if you're looking for trends, you might not find them.

Local public health officials says Quad City samplings are small when compared to statewide or national statistics so it's hard to draw an local conclusions.

"You know it's a little too early to tell," said Rock Island County Health Dept. chief operating officer Janet Hill during "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens".

"When you're looking at data you need a lot more time to notice trends."

What can we expect this summer and the upcoming school year?  Watch more of our interview with Rock Island County Health Dept. COO on the "News 8 THIS WEEK EXTRA" on Facebook at WQAD Jim Mertens.

We're all waiting to see signs that COVID-19 has peaked and cases are falling.

But with every bar graph, we're seeing peaks and valleys.  Oftentimes there are no clear cut trends.

That doesn't mean there isn't any good news in Quad City numbers.

"You know, I think that we have not had over the past several weeks giant spikes," said Hill.  

"We were consistently reporting more than 20-cases daily."

Daily COVID-19 statistics are provided by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health and the Iowa Dept. of Public Health.

State health officials admit the daily statistics aren't perfect, but say it's important to get the numbers out to the public.

"With the increase of testing around Illinois, for sure there is an increase in COVID positive cases detected.  That is expected," said Illinois Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

At the heart of it all is testing.

Illinois says it's enforcing the original White House guidelines including a 14-day wait for cases to scale down.

Iowa is looking at regional hot spots and banking on accurate tests and statewide tracking to deal with new cases.

"As we continue to build out and we get to a place where we're really testing health care workers, essential workers, frontline workers, first responders, there will become a time I believe we'll be able to continue to open it up and if Iowans want to get a test we'll be able to do that," said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. 

So right now both states, and every citizen who lives in them, must weigh their own risks.

"Yes we must understand that not every life can be saved but we will do what we can," said Dr. Ezike.

Watch News 8 every Sunday morning at 10 for "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens".