Letter to NH DHHS

There have been numerous problems with the data provided by NH Department of Health and Human Services in the past week and a half. This is the letter I’ve sent to them, to try to remedy the problems.

Monday, January 18, 2021
Dear Webmaster:


You still have problems with the website. I don’t know if it’s in the programming or if it’s the user or both, but it’s very frustrating.

The town data is simply not updating properly. It was starting to look like a pattern: It didn’t update on Saturday, January 9, then it appeared to be ok on Sunday and Monday. Then it was screwed up again on Tuesday, the 12th, but it was ok on Wednesday and Thursday. And then again, on the third day, it is screwed up on Friday, January 15. Errors every one out of three days is simply not acceptable.

But then it was wrong, again, on Sunday’s report. And again on Monday’s report. 5 days with errors out of the last ten days. 1 out of 2 days are inaccurate. This needs to be fixed.


The maps on the index page allow the user to download data. That shows the correct date somedays, but the data is from the previous day. Sometimes the data and the data are from the previous day. 

That same error is also on the Interactive Map Dashboard, for the metrics for Cumulative Cases and Active Cases.

Often, I am able to click on the map for my town and get the updated data there, but not today. Today, even the map has yesterday’s data.

Today, the tabs on the Summary Dashboard show today’s date, the data on the Summary tab, the Risk/Epidemic Curve, the Cumulative map and the Current map all have the same information as yesterday.

On the Interactive Dashboard, some info appears to be correct, and others are wrong. I presume the first three metrics are accurate, as their data has updated every day for both the counties and by towns. Ditto for “Cumulative Antigen and PCR Tests.” However, Cumulative Cases and Active cases have the same errors: data from the previous day, with the current date.

Today, on the table on the Summary Dashboard’s Cumulative Map tab, Manchester shows as 7,983. On the map on that page, they show as 7,972. On the Interactive Dashboard/Cumulative metric, Manchester has 7983 under the county download option, but 7972 on the town download option. (I believe that the 7,892 was the count for Manchester on Saturday, and 7,983 was yesterday’s numbers.)

Nashua has similar problems. 5,028 is on the table on the Summary Dashboard’s Cumulative Map tab, and on the map on that page. The county download option on the Interactive Dashboard/Cumulative metric is 5,028, but it is 5,027 on the town download option. 

Today, Manchester has errors on their Current cases as well. (Nashua is consistent, with yesterday’s data.) On the Interactive Dashboard/County download, Manchester shows as 608, but it shows as 606 on the Interactive Dashboard/Town download. The Summary/Map table is 608, but the map itself shows 607. Three numbers, all attributed to the same date. How can that be?

Recent Changes:

Your recent “improvements” to the website design are very disappointing. I believe that some of these problems may be happening because of the website changes. While you fix the problems, I hope you will consider some other things:

For those of us who collect this info on a daily basis, please stop moving things around (unless you move things back to where they were fairly recently … which was far more convenient than what we have now.)

Index Page:

  • Maps no longer show the date
  • Maps no longer show the key for the ranges
  • If you are going to make changes, it might be time to change the color ranges since so many towns have reached 50 cumulative cases, and many have passed 100.

Summary Dashboard: 

  • The new frame is awkward. When moving within the frame to see the map is extremely challenging; the cursor doesn’t move the map, the map size is what changes.
  • I can no longer click on a number and copy.
  • Switching between Cumulative and Active tabs is frustrating; it was better when they were in the same place.
  • There is a download button to download data, but it is disabled.

Interactive Dashboard:

  • The dropdown icon to download data is funky; the two options are elusive from my cursor.

SUMMARY:
These problems are frustrating, as I do a daily summary, which is published for the people in my town. But these numbers are also concerning, especially when I see errors like the number of Active cases in Manchester. The counts aren’t far off, but they should be the same.

FYI: I use an older MacBook Pro. My browser of choice is Safari, but I am forced to use Chrome to be able to use your site more efficiently. I use other sites that aren’t Safari-friendly, but none where I struggle to do something like select the map or use a download button.

Please fix these. We need to have confidence that the numbers we are being provided from NH DHHS are accurate. This reflects poorly on NH DHHS, and it reflects poorly on Governor Sununu.

Thank you for your time, and prompt correction to these issues.

Respectfully,

Bonnie Wright, 
Salem NH 
603-458-5104


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