Data Update

Massachusetts Data Update December 23, 2020

Testing positivity rates remain at elevated levels, but are down from their highs – just in time for what will likely be a spike as a result of Christmas gatherings. All positivity rates are at levels last seen in early December, with the exception of the rate for repeat testers, which is at its highest level for the fall surge.  Unfortunately, the positivity rates are well above what they were prior to Thanksgiving.

As one would expect, the amount of higher education testing has dropped back to the levels seen at the beginning of September as colleges and universities have closed for the holiday break, and education testing is now only 20% of all testing statewide.


Table 1: Massachusetts Testing Statistics
7 Day  Trailing Average
December 23, 2020
Testing Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Test Positivity Rate (Individuals)   17.2% 19.2% 10.4%
Test Positivity Rate (Include Suspected)   18.2% 20.0% 10.9%
Test Positivity Rate (All Tests)   5.9% 6.3% 3.4%
Test Positivity Rate (Newly Tested)   17.2% 19.2% 10.4%
Test Positivity Rate (Repeat Testers)   1.4% 1.3% 0.7%
Percentage Repeat Testers   71.5% 72.0% 72.1%
Test Positivity Rate (Higher Ed)   0.4% 0.5% 0.3%
Test Positivity Rate (Non Higher Ed)   7.3% 8.0% 4.9%
Percentage Higher Ed Testers   20.5% 23.0% 33.1%
Newly Tested (Lagged 1 Week)   24,521 24,886 22,701
Higher Ed Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   20,118 21,578 31,744
All Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   87,594 86,325 83,801


Given the number of current number of daily cases, hospitalizations will inevitably continue to increase for the foreseeable future. We’ve more than doubled the number of covid patients in the hospital, the number of patients in the ICU, and the number of intubated patients in the past four weeks.  While the net increase in these patient counts has slowed somewhat since the beginning of the month, it is likely that hospitals will come under increasing strain, especially several weeks after Christmas.


Table 2: Massachusetts Hospitalization Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
December 23, 2020
Hospitalization Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Confirmed  Patients Hospitalized   1950 1723 918
Confirmed  Patients in ICU   393 343 194
Confirmed  Patients Intubed   212 182 89
New Confirmed Admissions (15-Dec)   229 195 105
Net New Confirmed Patients   31 39 8
Net New ICU Patients   4 11 5
Net New Intubated Patients   3 6 5
 Percent ICU / Hospitalized   20% 20% 21%
 Percent Intubated / ICU   54% 53% 46%


With test positivity rates down a bit, and the number of tests holding relatively constant, the number of cases are also off their highs.  The number of deaths is still rising, unfortunately.  Today’s reported death count of 81 is the second highest since May – there were 89 deaths reported on December 9th.  (As a side note, relatively high numbers of deaths are typically reported on Wednesday, as there is a lag in reporting deaths that have occurred over the weekend).  The highest number of deaths occurring on a single day during the fall surge was 60 on December 7th.


Table 3: Massachusetts Reported Case and Death Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
December 23, 2020
Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Total Deaths Including Suspected   54 50 28
Total  Deaths Confirmed Only   53 48 28
Deaths in Long-Term Facilities (All Cases)   17 18 14
Percent from Long-Term Care   32% 36% 50%
Total Cases Including Suspected   4554 4957 2681
Total Confirmed Cases   4334 4713 2538


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