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How Public Agencies Keep Communities Informed on COVID-19 with Power BI

Headshot of article author Arun Ulagaratchagan

As the world grapples with COVID-19, it’s critical that public agencies working to stop the spread of the virus are equipped to give their communities timely and accurate information. Government agencies and non-profits are handling large amounts of data that are changing rapidly, and many of them are turning to Power BI to share data about COVID-19 with communities in easy-to-understand maps and dashboards.

We’re providing a free Power BI toolkit for state and local governments that enables them to quickly publish up-to-date COVID-19 information for their localities. Both Power BI Desktop and the Power BI Publish to Web capability are completely free, and our hope is they can be useful data tracking and information sharing tools to agencies that are working to combat COVID-19.


Governments around the world are using Power BI to share information with communities related to COVID-19

Governments are working to give their communities accurate and up-to-date information about the spread of COVID-19.

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has published multiple interactive Power BI data dashboards. Citizens can find current and cumulative case counts, COVID-19 testing numbers, detailed demographics of those affected, and the curve showing the progression of the virus in the state’s population. By making these dashboards public, Washington State DOH is helping citizens explore the data and answer questions.



The Victorian Department of Health & Human Services in south-eastern Australia is using Azure and Power BI extensively in its public health emergency response and was able to quickly create this report to share their local information. It’s a great example of using data in this time of crisis to keep people informed and safer.


Animated image of the interactive report the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services in south-eastern Australia ​created to quickly share their local information.


Many organizations around the world use Power BI to share information with the general public. Here are instructions on how you can publish a public report using Power BI’s Publish to web capability.


Microsoft is partnering with USAFacts to make their COVID-19 data available in Power BI

USAFacts is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit civic initiative providing a data-driven portrait of the American population, government’s finances, and government’s impact on society. USAFacts is providing a national COVID-19 dataset by aggregating data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state, and local-level public health agencies. By referencing state and local agencies directly USAFacts is able to provide county-level data.

Microsoft is working with USAFacts to make it easy for citizens to visualize and analyze the data provided by USAFacts through a Power BI report.


Click here to view the report


In an effort to enable state and local governments to publish up to date information for their localities, Microsoft is publishing a toolkit which includes:

  • An embed code you can place on your own site
  • A Power BI Desktop file for the report shown above
  • Power BI Desktop
  • Power BI Publish to web

This toolkit enables state and local governments to perform ad-hoc analysis, make customizations, add additional data, and make the resulting reports available to their citizens.

As USAFacts updates its dataset, the report can be automatically refreshed with updated data.

Get the Power BI Desktop file here. Follow the detailed steps for how to use the toolkit in your own sites.

While this toolkit is focused on the United States, it can be easily adapted for international use.


The Power BI community is helping

On social media and in the Power BI Data Stories gallery, we’ve seen a tremendous outpouring from our community to help visualize COVID-19 data and help highlight insights they discover. We’ve started curating some of the best examples in a special COVID-19 Gallery.

A nice example is the #COVID-19 Dashboard – From Data to Insights by DataClue.  The report strikes a great balance between providing many different insights, while remaining engaging and clear due to the information layout, using supporting visuals to provide context, and using features like custom tooltips to reveal insights as a user explores the report.



To add your own data story to the gallery, or learn about Power BI and connect with peers, join the Power BI Community.


We’re here to help

If you are a government agency and you need help getting started on Power BI or have technical questions, please take a look at the free toolkit or contact your Microsoft Account Representative. We’re here to offer our resources for help with consolidating and analyzing data to respond to COVID-19 or to provide your communities the best data quickly and reliably.


Next steps

Get the Power BI toolkit 

Learn about Power Apps emergency response solution