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New cell phone data suggests Floyd County is traveling often, but still social distancing

Unacast is an often media-cited company using our cell phone data to track whether or not we are social distancing during the pandemic. KCHA News posted a story back in late March that revealed Floyd County was grading out at an ‘F’ on the Unacast scale for social distancing. This was solely based on average distance traveled during the pandemic. It revealed as of March 28th, Floyd County was actually traveling 5% more often than average – hence the ‘F’ on the scale. 

Many KCHA News listeners challenged the data-set. 

A Facebook comment from Alicia Schmitt read: “Much of Floyd county is rural and people have to drive to their jobs.”

Unacast echoed this on their website: “Travel distance is one aspect, but of course people can travel far without meeting a soul or travel 50 feet and end up in a crowd — so we know that the real world picture can be quite complex.”

Since then, Unacast has added layers to their data. One of which is ‘Encounter Density’ which compares the distance between cell phones comparably to the ‘National Baseline’. 

As of April 13th, Floyd County is still sporting an ‘F’ on the scale for distance traveled. 

And in terms of the new ‘Encounter Density’ rating is grading out at an ‘A’. 

These data sets together suggest people are still traveling long distances during the pandemic, but avoiding meet-ups with others.

As of April 14th, Floyd County still has zero reported cases of COVID-19.

Website link and source: https://www.unacast.com/covid19/social-distancing-scoreboard

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Carter Melrose

Carter bullied his way onto the KCHA radio waves after spending 4 years at the University of Iowa as a studying journalist. He writes news, short stories, features, but more than anything, he has a proclivity to wax philosophically.

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