Data Update

Massachusetts Data Update: September 29,2020

The negative trend continues, just as Governor Baker announced that lower-risk communities can relax capacity and other restrictions in early October. I believe he is fully committed to continuing with reopening unless positivity rates go much higher. However, there is an out. If more communities go into the “red-zone” based on the weekly public health report, those communities will be required to roll back to the more restricted standards. The red-zone is a daily case rate of more than 8 per 100,000. It will be interesting to see in today’s weely report if the increase in cases is due to more communities going into the red-zone, or due to higher rates within the communities already in the red-zone.

Table 1: Massachusetts Testing Statistics
7 Day  Trailing Average
September 29, 2020
Testing Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Test Positivity Rate (Individuals)   3.2% 2.4% 1.5%
Test Positivity Rate (Include Suspected)   3.4% 2.5% 1.6%
Test Positivity Rate (All Tests)   1.0% 0.8% 0.9%
Test Positivity Rate (Newly Tested)   3.2% 2.4% 1.5%
Test Positivity Rate (Repeat Testers)   0.2% 0.2% 0.3%
Percentage Repeat Testers   73.9% 73.6% 51.8%
Newly Tested (Lagged 1 Week)   14,480 16,750 20,585
All Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   54,805 55,476 34,646


Both the overall test positivity rate and the rate based on newly tested individuals continued their upward trajectory, with the newly tested rate now above 3%, more than double its low of 1.4% (on August 29). Even though the positivity rate among re-testers remains low (0.2%), both the count of daily tests and the percentage of re-testers appears to be leveling off (at about 55,000 and just under 75%, respectively).

Table 2: Massachusetts Hospitalization Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
September 29, 2020
Hospitalization Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Covid Patients Hospitalized   393 362 319
Covid Patients in ICU   82 65 61
Covid Patients Intubed   28 28 27
New Confirmed Patients   28 23 18
Percent ICU / Hospitalized   21% 18% 19%
Percent Intubated / ICU   35% 43% 44%


The increase in hospitalizations supports the notion that the increase in cases is not just a result of more testing.   The number of patients hospitalized with Covid has been over 400 for the past three days, and the 7 day average is just under 400.  Also troubling is the increase in the count of newly hospitalized patients, at its highest level in over two months (since July 12th). The small bright spot in the hospitalization data is the number of intubated patients, which is basically unchanged (possibly because of improved treatment or changes in treatment protocols).

Table 3: Massachusetts Reported Case and Death Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
September 29, 2020
Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Total Deaths Including Suspected   14 15 15
Total  Deaths Confirmed Only   13 15 15
Deaths in Long-Term Facilities (All Cases)   9 11 10
Percent from Long-Term Care   64% 72% 66%
Total Cases Including Suspected   517 368 355
Total Confirmed Cases   482 349 338


The death toll from Covid remains unchanged.  The 7 day average daily reported death rate has been between 12 and 17  for over two months (since July 15th).  The 7 day average of reported confirmed cases is close to 500, and the highest since June 5th.  Some of this is a result of more testing, but the positivity rate on June 5th (4.6%) wasn’t significantly higher than it is today.

6 replies on “Massachusetts Data Update: September 29,2020”

Thanks for another comprehensive update, despite the disappointing trend. I will pretty much rely on your blog to understand what’s really going on. I mostly trust Gov Baker, but am getting a little bit nervous that maybe he is looking at the Desantis playbook on how to manipulate data to offer a rosier picture than what is reality. Don’t include this, and don’t include that, and use whatever data set will dilute the unfavorable stats.

I will use this blog as my go-to for an objective analysis on where we are. The BG comments section is too often clogged up with accusations and simplistic solutions from readers who use a fifth-grader’s reasoning, so I am starting to avoid the comment boards.

I, too, look for this analysis to help me get the straight scoop. I’ve been disappointed lately in the way these increases have been presented by the state. As a Dorchester resident especially, I’ve been alarmed at what is happening in the city so am appreciative of Walsh’s setting the city aside for its own set of rules. In fact, communities across the state do seem to have very different needs and I’m sure Baker is responding to pressure from the many areas that are more stable than the cities. Thank you for your time and expertise in sorting this out.

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