Santa Barbara County Receives B Rating for Social Distancing
The line at Trader Joe's on Milpas in March (Photo: Blazer)
By edhat staff
An analytics firm is using cellphone location data to track how well counties are following social distancing guidelines.
Unacast revealed their pro bono Social Distancing Scoreboard following the COVID-19 pandemic. It features an interactive map that assigns letter grades to every state and county in America based on how well the company's data analysis determines residents' practice of social distancing.
As of Monday, 4/20/20, Santa Barbara County is averaging a B for rating overall. The county is receiving a C based on a 40 - 55% reduction in average mobility (distance traveled), an A for greater than 70% for a reduction in non-essential visits, and a B for an 82 - 94% decrease in encounters density compared to the National baseline, according to Unacast.
Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso confirmed at a Board of Supervisors meeting on April 7 they are currently using Unacast data and Google for their modeling to determine how well Santa Barbara County residents are practicing social distancing.
Dr. Do-Reynoso explained based on that data, Santa Barbara County is anywhere between 40-60% compliant. She also expressed these metrics are not absolute but are useful in terms of future planning.
San Luis Obispo County is also receiving a B rating while Ventura County is rated C-. The United States as a whole is currently receiving a C+ rating while California earns a B-.
Unacast uses three metrics to measure social distancing. The first is a change in average distance traveled compared to a pre-COVID-19 period, followed by a change in visitation to non-essential venues compared to a pre-COVID-19 period, and the probability that two devices (or people) were in the same place at the same time posing a potential for human encounters.
Since the pandemic, Unacast has rolled out a collection of data sets titled the COVID-19 Location Data Toolkit showing trends and patterns. They recently unveiled their Retail Impact Scoreboard which aims to track which industries are seeing visitation changes as a result of COVID-19.
According to the retail scoreboard, the grocery and food retail industry in California received a big boost between March 13-18, around the same time the White House issued guidelines to avoid gatherings. In recent weeks, the industry has seen a 20% drop in foot traffic this time last year. However, keep in mind this does not track revenue, simply the number of people visiting these locations.