Data Update

Massachusetts Data Update September 6, 2020

Test positivity rates in Massachusetts are creeping upward slightly, hitting 1.8% on September 6, after being at a pandemic low rate of 1.5% for about a week. Is this the start of a trend? It is too early to tell, as there was a similar increase in positive rates at the end of July that petered out. In contrast, the headline positivity rate reported by the Commonwealth remains at its pandemic low of 0.9%. Why the disconnect? Repeat testers. The positivity rate for repeat testers is 0.3%, and they now represent almost 60% of all recent tests, up from 30% four weeks ago. Almost all of the recent increase in testing in the state is from repeat testers.

Two technical notes. First, I’ve updated the positivity rate that includes suspected cases to reflect the large drop in suspected cases that the state reported on September 3, when it eliminated over 8,000 cases from cumulative totals. Because there are so many fewer suspected cases in the historical data, the difference between the baseline individual positivity rate and the suspected case rate is smaller than previously.

Second, the state continues to eliminate suspected cases (and deaths) from the record, but no longer is reporting the back history with which to identify when these suspected cases were removed. The numbers of new dropped cases is quite small so far, but this makes some of the case reporting slightly problematic.

Massachusetts Testing Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
September 6, 2020
Testing Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Test Positivity Rate (Individuals)   1.8% 1.5% 1.9%
Test Positivity Rate (Include Suspected)   1.8% 1.7% 2.0%
Test Positivity Rate (All Tests)   0.9% 1.0% 1.6%
Test Positivity Rate (Newly Tested)   1.8% 1.5% 1.9%
Test Positivity Rate (Repeat Testers)   0.3% 0.4% 1.0%
Percentage Repeat Testers   59.0% 47.5% 29.9%
Newly Tested (Lagged 1 Week)   20,005 19,361 13,916
All Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   38,107 30,057 19,674

Hospitalizations remain in equilibrium, with little change over the past week or month.  One note: based on the analysis in yesterday’s post I am now using the new confirmed patients reported by hospitals to track admissions.

Massachusetts Hospitalization Statistics
September 6, 2020
Hospitalization Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Covid Patients Hospitalized   312 290 375
Covid Patients in ICU   52 62 60
Covid Patients Intubed   22 25 26
7-Day Trailing Average New Confirmed Patients 19 18 22

Case and death figures remain basically unchanged, with one exception.  The percentage of deaths in long-term care facilities has dropped somewhat in the past week or month.  Is Massachusetts beginning to get this under control?   Let’s hope so.

Massachusetts Reported Case and Death Statistics
7 Day  Trailing Average
September 6, 2020
Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Total Deaths   15 16 14
Deaths in Long-Term Care Facilities   8 10 10
Percent from Long-Term Care   57% 64% 73%
Total Cases Including Suspected   342 359 369

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