BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. – Christian Hammond is a software developer and business owner, but in his spare time, he gathers data from Butte County and the state to keep track of cases and deaths.
The Unofficial Butte County COVID-19 Tracker was created by Hammond.
Many people see the pandemic impacts through local business closed signs and people wearing masks around town.
Hammond sees the pandemic impacts through his screen.
“Every day what I do is I go through a few different places, I will check the website for the county dashboard and just kind of get a sense of what are the numbers looking like today,” he said.
He’s a software engineer and business owner, but on his own dime, he tracks coronavirus cases and numbers in Butte County.
“This is taking a lot of my time each day, but I still want to do it. So, let’s go write some programs that can automate that. Pull the information from that, put it into a spreadsheet and really use that to get a better sense of what’s happening.”
Hammond resides in Palo Alto, but Chico is his hometown and he has family and friends that still live there, and they’re part of the reason Hammond started the COVID-19 tracker.
“Why do it? Why keep it going?” asked Action News Now Reporter Esteban Reynoso.
“I live in Santa Clara County, it hit really, hit our culture there pretty hard and when that happens you, you take a real interest,” he responded. “What I didn’t see was Butte County taking it the same way, because it took longer for cases to appear here. My goal initially was to make sure my family and friends are safe, I want to make sure that they have the information they need, to be able to make the right decisions, and over time that turned into the full-on dashboard project.”
He plans to continue tracking and gather the data throughout the pandemic.
“Is it something that is a hobby?” asked Reynoso.
“In a sense, yeah, I mean it’s become one,” said Hammond.
He only started taking donations for the website recently, thinking, like many of us did, that this pandemic would wind down. Unfortunately, that didn’t come true.
Regardless of the donations, numbers will continue to be updated.
While the website is not deemed an official source of COVID-19 data, Hammond gathers the numbers from official sources like Butte County Public Health and the state’s dashboard.