Company uses cell phone data to show where Lake of the Ozarks Memorial Day partiers returned to

Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 6:10 PM CDT
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It's been more than a week since videos of pool bar parties at the Lake of the Ozarks went viral on Memorial Weekend.

Since then, the Camden County Health Department announced a positive case from Boone County visited multiple pool bars in the area.

"It's easy to think that you go to a place and you put yourself at risk, but a lot of people don't think of what that footprint looks like when you potentially contract something like this and then go back to your home, go on the rest of your vacation, wherever it may be," said Mike DiMarco, Chief Marketing Officer of Tectonix.

The company uses anonymized cell phone location data from X Mode Social. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the company has done several cell phone tracing videos.

"One of the first high profile ones we did was spring break in Fort Lauderdale," DiMarco said. "We took a look at devices active at a single beach, and then looked at the sprawl, and we're actually able to see devices going across the country."

After the viral videos of packed pool bars on Memorial Day Weekend, Tectonix focused on the Lake of the Ozarks.

This first part of the video shows the entire lake from the Monday before Memorial Day, to the holiday itself. Every blue dot you see on the screen represents a cell phone.

"As the week progresses, you can see the map populate with more and more records," DiMarco explained.

Tectonix then drew a circle around Backwater Jacks. Its one of the bars seen in many of those viral photos and videos, and is one of the bars a positive case of COVID-19 spent time at that Saturday.

The data shows after the weekend was over, those blue dots, or cell phones, spread out all across the midwest.

St. Louis, Kansas City, and Omaha, Nebraska saw a lot of activity.

"I think we saw about 14 states that got some version of traffic," DiMarco said.

DiMarco thinks seeing the visual data of where people spread to puts more weight behind the importance of social distancing, something Governor Mike Parson warned Missourians about not following last week.

"When social distancing is not followed, it is potentially dangerous for everyone, especially our most at risk individuals," Parson said.

The Camden County Commission released a letter Monday thanking the community and businesses for doing their part to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The commission believes it's been successful, as the county has seen 37 cases since March, despite the increase of tourists to the lake.