How Virginia Prepared to Respond to COVID-19

Data-Sharing Platform Leveraged to Combat COVID-19 

There's a saying by Louis Pasteur that chance favors the prepared mind, and in the case of COVID-19, Virginia was fortunate to be prepared. When it became apparent that the Commonwealth needed a secure way to share data about the growing pandemic within Virginia communities, the governance infrastructure and the cross-agency, cloud-based, data-sharing platform already existed. The Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation (FAACT) launched in 2018 through a pilot program to help combat the opioid crisis in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. In a matter of days, the platform was expanded to guide leaders in combating COVID-19 through a state-wide lens of data, promoting data-driven decisions. The almost real-time data and analytics delivered to Governor Ralph Northam and his team is what allowed the Commonwealth's ability to ask for resources where they were needed and order enough PPE. The FAACT platform that led to actionable intelligence in the early days of the pandemic is also the light on the path to a safe and successful recovery for the Commonwealth. 
In order to appropriately and securely share data, several Federal, State, Local, and Private organizations entered into the Commonwealth Data Trust. The data trust, implemented by Chief Data Officer, Carlos Rivero, is a safe, secure, and legally compliant information sharing environment that establishes consistent requirements for trust members through a standardized data sharing agreement process. The data trust provides a scalable alternative to multiple “point-to-point” sharing, promotes trust among its members through common rules for data security, privacy, and confidentiality and reduces technical costs by onboarding to a single environment using standard NIEM protocols. The Data Trust will ensure and support data discovery and analytics for agencies and organizations across the Commonwealth. Organizations that have contributed data so far include:
  • Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM)
  • Virginia Department of Health (VDH)
  • Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC)
  • Department of General Services, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DGS, DCLS) 
  • Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA)
  • Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)
  • Compensation Board (SCB)
  • Virginia National Guard
There are several COVID-19 data sets that are publicly accessible through the Open Data Portal with more data being added soon.