FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — COVID-19 positive cases are increasing by the day, and one Northwest Arkansas woman is crunching the numbers through data sets that represent the trajectory of the outbreak.
“I’ve found that it really has evolved into a much bigger project than I initially thought,” said Misty Orpin, the founder and operator of ArkansasCovid. “We’re certainly seeing that certain populations in Arkansas are being impacted a lot differently than others.”
ArkansasCovid’s website features graphs and charts developed through Tableau, and interactive data is more-easily understood than figures posted through the state’s Department of Health or other sources, Orpin said.
“Initially, I just wanted to put the raw data out there for folks—just a Google spreadsheet that people could download and look at, maybe use to create their own charts,” Orpin said. “Then it evolved into the Tableau charts, and those kind of expanded like a monster.”
We’ve all seen the detailed COVID-19 data shared by @ArkansasCovid. The site’s become a powerful resource during the outbreak. 📊— Andrew Epperson (@eppersports) June 26, 2020
Misty Orpin’s the face behind the charts. She says the community’s response has been surprising. (1/3) ⤵️ #NWANews pic.twitter.com/zGvtaK6DMl
The website expanded into a Twitter page with more than 6,000 followers. Orpin delivers charts and graphs nearly instantaneously after Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) adjourns his daily COVID-19 news conferences.
Most new cases in Arkansas for June 27:— ArkansasCovid (@ArkansasCovid) June 27, 2020
– Benton +119; 13.9% of 857 tests
– Washington +98; 31.1% of 315
– Pulaski +70; 7.5% of 939
– Faulkner +23; 22.6% of 102
– Sebastian +21; 4.4% of 481
– Johnson +19; 39.6% of 48
– Phillips +18; 6.8% of 266
The University of Arkansas’ Journalism School and its Arkansas Soul program provided Orpin with a summer intern who helps her with the data, but crowdsourced Twitter fact checkers have been her main source of oversight.
“The community on Twitter surrounding ArkansasCovid has been really supportive, and people have been willing to help one another with information and not just beat each other down,” Orpin said. “Having that non-toxic environment has been really important to me as I continue this.”
The Mexican Consulate was impressed with ArkansasCovid’s data collection and approached Orpin with the idea of translating the work into Spanish, something she said she was honored to do.
When the pandemic ends, Orpin said she’ll pass it onto a community partner.