Social Distancing Scoreboard tracks, grades Kentucky counties' efforts

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - One company is scoring every state - and every county - across the country on how well people are social distancing.

Seats at West Jessamine Middle School are empty as students shift to NTI days. (Photo: WKYT/Andrea Walker)

For its Social Distancing Scoreboard, Unacast uses phone location and map data to figure out the change in distance traveled compared to pre-COVID-19 days.

So, are Kentucky counties making the grade, as Gov. Andy Beshear continues to urge folks to stay #HealthyAtHome?

"This is the test of our times, of our generation," Gov. Beshear said during a news conference Monday. "But I know that you and I are up for it."

So far, the commonwealth is passing the test, according to Unacast's metrics. Overall, Kentucky gets a B for social distancing, with about a 34 percent decrease in average distance traveled.

(Note: Numbers - and even grades - on the scoreboard are constantly changing as information updates.)

WKYT's Garrett Wymer tracked about 10 Kentucky counties graded F as the website updated throughout the day on Wednesday. Three of those are in the WKYT viewing area: Menifee, Wolfe and Rockcastle counties. Several counties in western Kentucky - including Lyon, Trigg and Simpson - actually showed an increase in average distance traveled instead of a decrease. Again, grades for counties are constantly fluctuating. For instance, as of Thursday, Menifee County's grade had updated to a C.


    The website determines the grade for a county, state or country based on its score:
  • A: >40% decrease

  • B: 30-40% decrease

  • C: 20-30% decrease

  • D: 10-20% decrease

  • F: <10% decrease or increase


The good news is that about a quarter of Kentucky counties have A-grades. Kentucky's best county for social distancing, according to Unacast, was Magoffin County, with a 62 percent cut in distance traveled. Anderson and Morgan counties were also in the state's top five for much of the day Wednesday.

Of the top 10 Kentucky counties with the most cases, three scored As for social distancing, five scored Bs and two - including Harrison County, where the first coronavirus case in Kentucky originated - scored Ds.

The scoreboard's line graph shows that as a whole, distance traveled is going down as cases go up and further steps are taken to "flatten the curve."

"The safest place over the coming weeks for everybody," the governor has reiterated, "is going to be staying healthy at home."

Unacast says it plans to add more features to the scoreboard in the coming days and weeks to add more nuance to the conclusions that can be drawn from its data.

Check out Unacast's Social Distancing Scoreboard here: