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School of Public Health, Department of Health Partner on Epidemiological Report of COVID-19 in New York 

The School of Public Health and NYS Department of Health have partnered on multiple studies throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 26, 2020) – The School of Public Health and the New York State Department of Health have developed a detailed report of the emergence of COVID-19 in New York State (excluding New York City). It is the first comprehensive epidemiological report on the emergence of COVID-19 from a U.S. state in a peer-reviewed publication.

While there are national reports that track the progression of COVID-19 diagnoses and several states have created digital “dashboards” of outbreak data, these overviews are often limited to basic information such as age, sex, and fatality. Collecting more in-depth data can often pose a challenge, especially during a rapid expansion of cases.

However, an extensive testing campaign implemented early on by the New York State Department of Health made it possible to collect more data on those infected with COVID-19. This new and timely report, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, uses that critical information to provide details on the outbreak in New York as it continues to unfold— creating a vivid “snapshot” of testing, risk factors, outcomes, and infections within households for March 2020.

Of note, the report’s information on household spread is particularly unique. Collected when family members of infected individuals were also tested for the virus, the information provides valuable insight into the efficacy of quarantine. The results showed that 57% of COVID-19 patients’ household members also received positive diagnoses.

In years to come, this report will be particularly valuable as a scientific record of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. While websites and dashboards may alter what data they share, this report from UAlbany and the New York State Department of Health will remain as an available document in the scientific community.

“Health departments across the U.S. are working tirelessly in the fight against COVID-19, a necessary focus that has slowed the release of epidemiological papers,” says Eli Rosenberg, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and lead author. “Our university’s close relationship with the New York State Department of Health enabled our faculty, staff and students to quickly embed within the state’s COVID-19 response, providing technical assistance on special studies and helping generate evidence.”

This capture of epidemiological and health services history during the pandemic is critical to help inform the direction of COVID-19 response in New York and serves as an example to other states for potential reports.

 

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