MASSACHUSETTS — The positive test rate in Massachusetts rose to 8.6 percent Thursday, up two percentage points in a week. The Massachusetts Department of Health designated 190 cities and towns as high risk for the coronavirus in the latest community-level report.
The high-risk list grew by just two communities and more than half of cities and towns reported falling case counts, but the majority also reported rising test rates. The state reported significantly fewer tests conducted over the last week.
There were 6,887 new confirmed cases and 81 deaths Thursday. No report was published Friday, which was New Year's Day.
The seven-day average of hospitalized patients was 2,192, up from 1,982 a week prior. There were 417 patients in intensive care.
The seven-day average positive test rate was 8.6 percent statewide, up two percentage points from Christmas Eve, one week prior.
The town-by-town report labeled 190 Massachusetts communities as high risk for the virus, up from 188 last week; the full list can be found at the end of this article.
The positive test rate over the last two weeks increased in 180 — or 51.3 percent — of the 351 communities in the state. The rate fell in 126 — or 35.9 percent of — communities and held steady in the remaining 45. Two-week confirmed case counts fell in 208 communities.
There were 58.3 average daily cases per 100,000 residents of the state over that period, down from 63.2 last week.
To date, there have been 359,445 cases and 12,157 confirmed deaths statewide since the pandemic began. Officials estimate that there were 80,359 active cases as of Thursday.
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Health officials say positive coronavirus test results need to stay below 5 percent for two weeks or longer and, preferably, be closer to 2 percent, for states to safely ease restrictions. For a second consecutive week, over 200 towns had positive test rates at or above 5 percent over the last two weeks. The number reporting rates above 5 percent rose to 208.
Three towns reported positive test rates of 15 percent or higher: Hancock, Lawrence and Gardner.
Forty-eight communities had positive rates below 2 percent, up from 41 last week.
The state reported 95,827 new tests Thursday, bringing the total to 10.9 million. Testing fell significantly in the last week of December, with only 5,544 tests conducted on Christmas Day.
The data includes coronavirus cases for all Massachusetts communities, except for those with populations under 50,000 and fewer than five cases. The department said the stipulation was designed to protect the privacy of patients in those towns and cities.
The state releases town-by-town testing data every Thursday, including the number of people tested, the testing rate, the positive test rate, cases and infection rates.
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How to use this map: Zoom in on the map below and click on a pin to see that community's coronavirus case data. You can also view the town-by-town coronavirus data in the spreadsheet we used to create this map.
The map does not include 1,042 of the state's cases because state health officials could not determine which communities the patients lived in.
Pin colors correspond to changes in positive test rates: cities and towns with rising test rates are marked red, those with falling test rates are marked green and those with level test rates are yellow.
High-risk communities: Abington, Acushnet, Agawam, Amesbury, Andover, Ashburnham, Athol, Attleboro, Auburn, Avon, Ayer, Barnstable, Bellingham, Berkley, Beverly, Billerica, Blackstone, Boston, Boxford, Boylston, Braintree, Bridgewater, Brockton, Brookfield, Burlington, Canton, Carver, Charlton, Chelmsford, Chelsea, Chicopee, Clinton, Cohasset, Danvers, Dartmouth, Dedham, Dennis, Dighton, Douglas, Dover, Dracut, Dudley, East Bridgewater, East Longmeadow, Easton, Everett, Fairhaven, Fall River, Fitchburg, Foxborough, Framingham, Franklin, Freetown, Gardner, Georgetown, Grafton, Granby, Groveland, Hadley, Halifax, Hamilton, Hanover, Hanson, Haverhill, Holbrook, Holden, Holliston, Holyoke, Hopedale, Hudson, Hull, Ipswich, Kingston, Lakeville, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lee, Leicester, Leominster, Littleton, Longmeadow, Lowell, Ludlow, Lunenburg, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Manchester, Mansfield, Marlborough, Marshfield, Mashpee, Mattapoisett, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleborough, Middleton, Milford, Millbury, Millis, Milton, Monson, Montague, Nantucket, New Bedford, Newbury, Norfolk, North Andover, North Attleborough, North Brookfield, North Reading, Norton, Norwell, Norwood, Orange, Oxford, Palmer, Paxton, Peabody, Pembroke, Pepperell, Plainville, Plymouth, Quincy, Randolph, Raynham, Reading, Rehoboth, Revere, Rochester, Rockland, Rockport, Rowley, Rutland, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Scituate, Seekonk, Shirley, Shrewsbury, Somerset, South Hadley, Southampton, Southborough, Southbridge, Southwick, Spencer, Springfield, Sterling, Stoneham, Stoughton, Sturbridge, Sutton, Swampscott, Swansea, Taunton, Templeton, Tewksbury, Topsfield, Townsend, Tyngsborough, Upton, Uxbridge, Wakefield, Walpole, Waltham, Ware, Wareham, Webster, Wenham, West Boylston, West Bridgewater, West Brookfield, West Springfield, Westfield, Westford, Westminster, Westport, Weymouth, Whitman, Wilbraham, Wilmington, Winchendon, Winthrop, Woburn, Worcester, Wrentham and Yarmouth.