Data Update

Massachusetts Data Update October 20, 2020

The adverse trend continues. The 7 day positivity rate for newly tested individuals is 4.5%. Overall testing has flattened out, at least in the short-term, both for repeat testers and new individuals. The percentage of repeat testers is closing in on 80%, which has helped keep the overall test positivity rate in check, as repeat tester positivity is still 0.3%.

Table 1: Massachusetts Testing Statistics
7 Day  Trailing Average
October 20, 2020
Testing Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Test Positivity Rate (Individuals)   4.5% 3.8% 2.4%
Test Positivity Rate (Include Suspected)   4.9% 4.0% 2.5%
Test Positivity Rate (All Tests)   1.3% 1.2% 0.8%
Test Positivity Rate (Newly Tested)   4.5% 3.8% 2.4%
Test Positivity Rate (Repeat Testers)   0.3% 0.3% 0.2%
Percentage Repeat Testers   77.5% 73.4% 73.8%
Newly Tested (Lagged 1 Week)   15,782 16,077 16,588
All Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   59,307 61,602 55,840


Overall hospitalizations are relatively stable and haven’t risen as rapidly as cases, even accounting for lags from diagnosis to hospitalization. In the last four weeks, the 7 day case totals have almost doubled, but hospitalizations are up only 38% and have been level for over a week. The number of patients in the ICU has held steady since the end of September.  In contrast, new confirmed hospital admissions are at their highest levels since the end of June.

Table 2: Massachusetts Hospitalization Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
October 20, 2020
Hospitalization Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Covid Patients Hospitalized   502 508 362
Covid Patients in ICU   87 85 65
Covid Patients Intubed   33 29 28
New Confirmed Patients   41 36 23
Percent ICU / Hospitalized   17% 17% 18%
Percent Intubated / ICU   38% 34% 43%


The 7 day average of new cases continues to rise, roughly commensurate with the higher positivity rate.  Deaths in long-term care facilities are back near their long-term average of about 70%, and the overall number of deaths remains high.

Table 3: Massachusetts Reported Case and Death Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
October 20, 2020
Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Total Deaths Including Suspected   18 13 15
Total  Deaths Confirmed Only   18 13 15
Deaths in Long-Term Facilities (All Cases)   12 8 11
Percent from Long-Term Care   66% 64% 72%
Total Cases Including Suspected   724 638 368
Total Confirmed Cases   676 601 349


3 replies on “Massachusetts Data Update October 20, 2020”

Could the lack of relative rise in hospital, ICU, and little or no rise on deaths, mean that the people who are driving these new cases are relatively young and healthy?

Yes. As I had said in my post abut the age breakdown, people under 40 are now 60% of confirmed cases, up from 30% in early April. So that is certainly part of the answer. I’m still concerned about the relatively large number of deaths, which haven’t budged for quite some time, and don’t really reflect the change in the case composition. Deaths are still very high among those 60 and older, despite the change in the number of cases in that group.

Deaths are still over 60% nursing homes and they would be treated with palliative care , the majority of the affected nursing home patients have DNR/DNI status and do not transport orders. If a person gets sick in a nursing home and is not a DNR, they then become a hospital/community death. If as I fear we keep trending up the age group of those affected is the key indicator for hospital admissions.

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