Standing Down From Code RED

We are standing down from our Code RED Tasting Room plan. The biggest change will be that we will be going back to up to 5 samples Face-Face at the counter. We’ll also have some more flexibility with youth-too-big-to-carry-but-under-21, but when we fill up the barn space, we will still request they wait outside.

A single day spike in the number of reported local Covid cased caused by a change in reporting has rippled it’s way through the 7 day rolling average filter that I and other websites use, and it’s possible to now see the size of the the underlying surge that happened at the same time. And while in some WI counties it’s very large, in Kenosha, it’s 2-3X the prior new case rate. While not great, it’s not RED territory, either.

Things that make cider-pourers panic.

We post a graphic from each week in the Tasting Room as a visual aid, but your cidermaker also builds his own graphs from the same database. (And does side explorations of the data I won’t detail here.) Today’s is pasted above.

The Y axis is the 7-day rolling average smoothed daily new cases per 100,000 people. The X-axis is total cases since the start of the pandemic per 100K. It’s overlaid by county. Using these axes gives me a quick overview of both how fast spread is at a given time and how deep it’s penetrated into a county at one glance. I use new cases because it’s a leading indicator – I’d rather be looking forward than at metrics that describe how well counties are handling the burden right now (hospital cases and beds), or metrics of past tragedy (deaths).

Cross-checking WI DHS public data against the CDC reveals what happened – other than Covid. On 9/15, the numbers for the counties that spike change from matching the WI DHS Confirmed Cases number to matching the CDC Total Cases number. Total = Confirmed + Probable. Now the difference is only 5%. 19/20 cases are confirmed. But the difference, built up since March, appears in one day. Boom. And it’s such a big jump that it breaks the predefined color bands in my script – hence the white portion. Interestingly, it doesn’t happen in all counties in WI. And it has happened in other states’ data at other times since spring. But I think this is the biggest in the dataset.

So what did we learn?

  • Firstly, that we can run the Tasting Room under our Code RED restrictions. Nothing like putting a plan to a real test. Most people were understanding and co-operative. THANK YOU! We actually had a record sales week.
  • Secondly, I wish we had better way to handle families with youth who come to the orchard, and then to us. That’s a work-in-progress, but we have finite square feet and ventilation, and on a September or October Saturday afternoon, we just run out.
  • Thirdly, encouraging folks to take a flight outside really helped with waiting for a counter spot. Something to think about for the future.
  • Fourthly, your humble ciderwright should wait 1 day before panicking. I don’t actually follow these graphs every day for that very reason. One day’s data isn’t enough. The second day either follows the trend – or makes one start asking hard, but interesting, questions.

That’s the update. Thanks for reading, and I hope to have a sip with you soon.

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