Local department of health says cell phone data indicates possible decrease in social distancing in Sioux Falls

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Cell phone tracking data used by the city of Sioux Falls shows people are more active in the past couple weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jill Franken, the city’s director of public health said during Friday morning’s news briefing.

“During the first several weeks of social distance we saw a 25% decrease in (movement),” Franken said.

City officials anticipated that decrease but things have changed.

“In the last few weeks we are seeing people increasing their movements, traveling,” Franken said.

That can indicate that “maybe folks are not doing as much social distancing,” Franken said

The city uses cuebiq and Google for its cell phone tracking data, said T.J. Nelson of the mayor’s office.

Recent data from a cell phone data social distancing analysis by Unacast as part of a COVID-19 toolkit gives Minnehaha County a D in a social distancing scorecard through April 15.

The scorecard gives the county an F in the reduction of non-essential trips because the reduction is less than 55%. The county does get a C in for a 40 to 55% reduction in average mobility as based on distance traveled.

The social distance rating for Minnehahah County from unacast as part of its COVID-19 toolkit.

Traffic counts at five major intersections in Sioux Falls show continued reductions in traffic volumes as of April 16.

The gold line is regular traffic counts and patterns from 2019 at five major intersections in Sioux Falls. The blue line is traffic patterns in 2020 since the COVID-19 pandemic and the city enacted measures such a social distancing. The chart is from the city of Sioux Falls traffic division.

For example, the traffic count at 18th and Minnesota on March 1 was 23,079. The count was 22,911 on April 16. The traffic county at 41st and Louise was 52,058 on March 1. The count was 41,284 on April 1 and 39,997 on April 16. The overall traffic index was 0.65 on April 16. It was 0.75 on March 29.

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