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Santa Monica Stands Up COVID Dashboard

The city’s public-facing website is dedicated to COVID-19 resources for residents and businesses. Features include the mapping of available essential services and other timely data.

Information related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Santa Monica can now be found on a public-facing dashboard put up by the city.

The dashboard displays details like the city’s infection rate, how that rate compares to the surrounding region, hospital infrastructure and availability as well as the types of EMS calls to nursing facilities.

“That helped us visualize the day-to-day situation, specifically to the disease,” said Lindsay Call, chief resilience officer and emergency operations center director during the COVID-19 crisis.

The dashboard uses mapping technology from Esri to compile and display the data, making it easy to digest for both residents and policymakers.

The city has also launched a new feature on its website “focused on economic recovery and community resources.” Residents can take surveys, offering the city added insight into their concerns, and the feature serves as a portal for businesses to access resources and other assistance related to recovery from the significant economic downturn brought on by the COVID pandemic.

The city’s resource map also includes the names and locations of businesses, such as which restaurants are offering to-go orders.

“It’s served as a really useful tool, for not just restaurants, but for all of our central businesses,” Call said. “And we’re looking to see how that can grow as we develop, as we move into the reopening and recovery phases. How can we adapt that tool to really encourage our residents to use local businesses, to harden our local economy and get it back up and running as quickly as possible ... .”

Such tools as mapping, the dashboard, and surveys have allowed the city to better engage with residents during the pandemic and have given officials added insights into vulnerable populations and communities in need, Call explained.

“Is it food insecurity? Is it challenges with food delivery, child-care needs, etc.?” she added, calling attention to some of the questions Santa Monica officials want to explore both during the crisis and as the county moves through the recovery process.

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas for Government Technology magazine.