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TAMUCC scientists are tracking COVID-19 cases across Texas

Posted at 6:52 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 19:52:03-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Scientists at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's Conrad Blucher Institute (CBI) have developed a tool to track COVID-19 cases across the state.

While the institute usually dedicates itself to marine science and surveying, the pandemic being experienced globally gives it an opportunity to help out in a different way using the tools and techniques it usually applies to sea life.

Using ESRI, a mapping software it normally uses to detect trends in the water, the CBI is using information provided by the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Texas Department of State Health Services to create maps showing were the virus is prevalent, and other trends related to COVID-19.

“Again the long term benefit for that is going to allow other researchers the ability to kinda adjust models so that we can have appropriate predictions on when we might peak and when we might be able to see a recovery,” said CBI's Director of Spatial Lab Bryan Gillis.

The data is obtained from the TDEM and the TDSHS, which confirm and collect cases of COVID-19 in Texas. It is then presented in several formats including interactive geographic informational systems (GIS) dashboards and static maps.

“We are using the data we provide and also the data from John Hopkins together to see how the disease is spread out and how the policy affecting the disease,” said TAMU-CC associate GIS professor Dr. Lucy Huang.

The CBI will take the data and update the maps daily and with the information, staff can see how many cases are in the area, and can also see how fast cases are growing.

The institute also said the exercise also allows students to learn the technology, along with interactive conversations, so that way they can familiarize themselves with the tools and information.

Researchers also said the data collected also can help Corpus Christi city leaders decide how to properly handle COVID-19 cases.

“Information is key, to make good decisions and our program, and this technology helps visualize the information and make better decisions,” said CBI Interim Director Dr. Philippe Tissot.

To see these maps tracking COVID-19 cases click here.