Data Update

Massachusetts Data Update October 12, 2020

Very little has changed on the testing front since the last update five days ago.  7 day positivity rates for newly tested individuals are still 3.6% (they have been between 3.5% and 3.7% every day since September 29) and  the overall test positivity rate is 1.1% (it has remained there every day since September 28, with one exception).  A minor change is that the positivity rate for repeat testers is now 0.3%, after holding at 0.2% for a month. Three-quarters of the tests done are for repeat testers, and the number of tests is increasing slowly – now at 60,000 per day on average.


Table 1: Massachusetts Testing Statistics
7 Day  Trailing Average
October 12, 2020
Testing Statistic Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Test Positivity Rate (Individuals) 3.6% 3.7% 2.3%
Test Positivity Rate (Include Suspected) 3.8% 4.0% 2.5%
Test Positivity Rate (All Tests) 1.1% 1.2% 0.8%
Test Positivity Rate (Newly Tested) 3.6% 3.7% 2.3%
Test Positivity Rate (Repeat Testers) 0.3% 0.2% 0.2%
Percentage Repeat Testers 75.5% 73.6% 70.5%
Newly Tested (Lagged 1 Week) 15,927 15,449 18,368
All Tests (Lagged 1 Week) 60,215 57,687 49,180


If there is a flashing yellow sign, it is for hospitalizations.  The 7 day average of hospitalized patients is over 500, a level not seen since mid-July.  We’re closing in on almost 40 new patients per day, the highest figures since the end of June.  ICU patients and intubated patients remain elevated compared to a month ago.


Table 2: Massachusetts Hospitalization Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
October 12, 2020
Hospitalization Statistic Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Covid Patients Hospitalized 505 438 328
Covid Patients in ICU 85 86 58
Covid Patients Intubed 29 30 22
New Confirmed Patients 37 33 18
Percent ICU / Hospitalized 17% 20% 18%
Percent Intubated / ICU 35% 35% 37%


Cases also remain elevated, and deaths continue unabated  The 7 day average of deaths has been between 12 and 17 since late August.  The anomalous one-day report for long-term care facility deaths (43 deaths in long-term care facilities, but only 20 overall deaths on October 5) has rolled off the current statistics and is now embedded in the figure for one week ago.


Table 3: Massachusetts Reported Case and Death Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
October 12, 2020
Statistic Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Total Deaths Including Suspected 12 16 12
Total  Deaths Confirmed Only 12 16 12
Deaths in Long-Term Facilities (All Cases) 8 15 7
Percent from Long-Term Care 67% 89% 59%
Total Cases Including Suspected 602 627 328
Total Confirmed Cases 575 587 299

5 replies on “Massachusetts Data Update October 12, 2020”

Hi! I came up with a different average of new hospitalizations. I figured it’s been ~18 new patients a day. What’s decreased is the number of discharges per day, meaning (only conclusion?), patients must be staying longer. First question is, are my numbers off; second question is, if they are correct then why are patients staying longer?

Thanks for responding, John. We are both correct, just using different data sources. It appears to me that you are using the hospitalization data from the race / ethnicity report from the state. I also get 18 as the 7 day average if I use that. I wrote a post back in early September explaining why I switched to the hospitalization-based data set – using confirmed admissions and not confirmed and suspected admissions, but reported by hospitals. There, when I looked at a comparison between the two sources through the end of August, the new hospitalizations from hospitals were almost always higher than those from the state. I haven’t really paid much attention to the state numbers recently, but the divergence seems to getting bigger.

All of the numbers in Table 2 of the data update come from the report submitted by the hospitals (this tends to make them at least internally consistent). I’ve become even more suspicious of the hospitalization numbers from the state as I researched the data from the state in their weekly age breakdown of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The numbers in the age cohort report appear consistently under reported, as I described in my methodology post yesterday about how I came up with age-based estimates.

So, I would agree with your comment about longer stays if I thought the numbers from the state were reliable. I don’t think they are – as the new admissions reported by hospitals seems to roughly track the number of patients in the hospital – both have increased substantially since four weeks ago.

Thank you for taking the time to explain. I was thinking while tossing and turning last night that maybe there was a simple explanation. I think I will start following that, too. I use cases by date from the daily reports and should start using those reports for this, as well.

I also look at cases and deaths by date. In these updates I chose to use the ‘by reported date’ instead of the ‘as occurred’ date because of the lags involved. I think the cases by date is more informative, but if I wanted to publish a 7 day trailing average, I thought I had to lag 7 days waiting for cases/deaths to be reported, and then a 7 day average would mean that I was counting cases/deaths that occurred up to 14 days prior.

I do think you get to the same place eventually, and neither is right or wrong in my view.

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