Data Update

Massachusetts Data Update November 29, 2020

Well, I was wrong. I thought we’d have to wait for about another week to potentially see higher test positivity rates – at the last update four days ago, it appeared rates were headed down coming into the Thanksgiving holiday. But they bottomed last Monday, and have spiked significantly since then. This does not bode well for the coming weeks. (One note: since testing rates are based on the day the tests are performed rather than reported, they change as new test results come in and the dashboard updated. My November 25 update reported the 7 day newly tested positivity rate as 9.3% using data through November 24.   The 7 day rate for November 24th is now 9.9%).

Table 1: Massachusetts Testing Statistics
7 Day  Trailing Average
November 29, 2020
Testing Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Test Positivity Rate (Individuals)   12.5% 10.0% 6.7%
Test Positivity Rate (Include Suspected)   13.5% 10.5% 7.1%
Test Positivity Rate (All Tests)   3.8% 3.3% 2.0%
Test Positivity Rate (Newly Tested)   12.5% 10.0% 6.7%
Test Positivity Rate (Repeat Testers)   0.7% 0.7% 0.4%
Percentage Repeat Testers   73.7% 71.7% 75.1%
Test Positivity Rate (Higher Ed)   0.3% 0.4% 0.1%
Test Positivity Rate (Non Higher Ed)   5.4% 5.0% 3.4%
Percentage Higher Ed Testers   31.4% 36.6% 43.7%
Newly Tested (Lagged 1 Week)   26,041 21,756 16,908
Higher Ed Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   33,704 31,260 30,514
All Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   92,007 79,534 68,335


In fact, every positivity rate is higher or the same as it was a week ago, with the exception of the higher education rate, which dropped slightly. However, the percentage of tests associated with higher education fell to about 31% from close to 45% four weeks ago – I’d expect the higher education testing percentages to remain at these levels or drop lower through at least the end of the year as college students begin to return home from fall classes. Since higher education has had the lowest positivity rate among the reported categories in Table 1, this will put upward pressure on the all test positivity rate and the repeat tester positivity rate as the testing mix changes.  The repeat tester positivity rate is at its highest level in over three months.


Table 2: Massachusetts Hospitalization Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
November 29, 2020
Hospitalization Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Confirmed  Patients Hospitalized   985 872 407
Confirmed  Patients in ICU   214 176 81
Confirmed  Patients Intubed   105 77 43
New Confirmed Admissions (24-Nov)   125 105 50
Net New Confirmed Patients   27 22 11
Net New ICU Patients   7 5 1
Net New Intubated Patients   3 3 1
 Percent ICU / Hospitalized   22% 20% 20%
 Percent Intubated / ICU   49% 44% 53%


There had been a temporarily lull in the rate of increase in hospitalized patients; that is now over.  There have been over 1000 covid patients in Massachusetts hospitals for the past tow days, and the 7 day average is inching closer to 1000.  The average number of new admissions for the week ending November 24 is almost 20% higher than the previous week.  ICU and intubated patient averages have continued to rise as well – the 7 day average of number of intubated patients increased more than 35% week over week.


Table 3: Massachusetts Reported Case and Death Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
November 29, 2020
Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Total Deaths Including Suspected   29 26 21
Total  Deaths Confirmed Only   29 26 21
Deaths in Long-Term Facilities (All Cases)   14 12 12
Percent from Long-Term Care   47% 44% 57%
Total Cases Including Suspected   2620 2657 1308
Total Confirmed Cases   2479 2501 1220


The average number of cases may be leveling off, but it is a bit too soon to tell if this is just a reporting artifact from Thanksgiving.  Given the higher positivity rates from Table 1, I’d guess this is just a lull. Deaths, as a lagging indicator, are continuing to tick up.


One reply on “Massachusetts Data Update November 29, 2020”

The trend is up and we’ll probably get more of a jump after Thanksgiving. Then, repeat for Christmas. We know hospitalizations lag cases, so the increase in the former makes sense since the latter went up a couple of weeks ago at least. For now, daily deaths seem to be leveled off but with intubations and ICU bed usage up, that could change as well.

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