Data Update

Massachusetts Data Update November 17,2020

Are the testing and case metrics beginning to level off in Massachusetts? Test positivity for newly tested individuals was 10.9% today, and has been between 10.8% and 11.1% for the past five days. Unfortunately, this type of holding pattern happened once before recently, when the newly tested positivity rate held at 6.6% and 6.7% for seven consecutive days near the end of October and the beginning of November. It is way to soon to draw any conclusions, especially with Thanksgiving coming up. This test positivity holding pattern seems to be in place not only for newly tested individuals, but for repeat testers (0.5% and 0.6% rate for twelve days), and higher education testers (0.3% rate for eight days) as well.


Table 1: Massachusetts Testing Statistics
7 Day  Trailing Average
November 17, 2020
Testing Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Test Positivity Rate (Individuals)   10.9% 9.6% 4.8%
Test Positivity Rate (Include Suspected)   11.7% 10.0% 5.1%
Test Positivity Rate (All Tests)   3.2% 2.9% 1.4%
Test Positivity Rate (Newly Tested)   10.9% 9.6% 4.8%
Test Positivity Rate (Repeat Testers)   0.6% 0.5% 0.3%
Percentage Repeat Testers   73.9% 73.1% 76.2%
Test Positivity Rate (Higher Ed)   0.3% 0.3% 0.1%
Test Positivity Rate (Non Higher Ed)   5.3% 4.8% 2.6%
Percentage Higher Ed Testers   41.2% 41.1% 47.3%
Newly Tested (Lagged 1 Week)   21,047 18,132 15,762
Higher Ed Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   32,178 31,656 26,558
All Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   78,315 72,384 59,644


Of course, hospitalizations lag cases, and the Covid patient count continues to accelerate, with over 30 net new patients added to the Massachusetts hospital rosters each day on average over the past week (versus about 20 net new patients daily over the prior week).  In the short run, ICU and intubated patient counts are leveling off, as are the ratios of ICU to total Covid patients, and intubated patients to ICU patients.


Table 2: Massachusetts Hospitalization Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
November 17, 2020
Hospitalization Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Confirmed  Patients Hospitalized   724 546 322
Confirmed  Patients in ICU   155 129 60
Confirmed  Patients Intubed   71 61 26
Net New Confirmed Patients   31 19 3
Net New ICU Patients   1 8 1
Net New Intubated Patients   1 2 1
 Percent ICU / Hospitalized   21% 24% 19%
 Percent Intubated / ICU   46% 47% 43%


Confirmed reported cases have topped 2000 for seven of eight days now – the only day under 2000 was yesterday (and the data released on Monday tends to have light totals reflecting cases reported on Sunday).  The number of reported cases have leveled off somewhat, reflecting the short-term leveling off of test positivity rates.  Deaths are slowly increasing, reflecting the increases in cases from several weeks back.


Table 3: Massachusetts Reported Case and Death Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
November 17, 2020
Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Total Deaths Including Suspected   25 21 18
Total  Deaths Confirmed Only   25 21 18
Deaths in Long-Term Facilities (All Cases)   16 9 12
Percent from Long-Term Care   61% 44% 66%
Total Cases Including Suspected   2583 1899 724
Total Confirmed Cases   2400 1810 676


4 replies on “Massachusetts Data Update November 17,2020”

Is there a metrics that tells us the ages of current hospitalizations, ICU, and intubations? Will the winding down of colleges until 21 have an effect on numbers (beyond few tests)?

No. There is no data available that I’m aware of that looks at those currently hospitalized and breaks it down by age. The state does publish in its weekly report a two-week rolling total of new hospitalizations by age group, but I found that to be highly unreliable when I was calibrating it with the race / ethnicity report that published new hospitalizations daily. So, for now, I’m not trying to estimate either new or current hospitalizations by age.

I assume that as colleges close for Christmas and the beginning of 2021 we will see many fewer tests being conducted each day. Everything else being equal, this means that the test positivity rate overall should increase, as the higher education community has one of the lowest positivity rate of any group.

For myself, I’ve lost interest in following the data every day. With everything up, there doesn’t seem to be much to analyze. What things are you looking at going forward?

I’m just looking to see if there is any sign of stabilization anywhere in the information reported. There really isn’t anything new to analyze at this point, but I’m still interested in following the numbers, and there are an admittedly small number of people who get information from this blog. So I’m plowing ahead for the time being.

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