Coronavirus Hot Spots: Cities and Towns in Mass. With High Rates of Positive Tests

Lynn, Revere and Chelsea had the highest percentages of positive COVID-19 tests over the last two weeks

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Massachusetts has released its latest weekly data on the coronavirus pandemic, including an updated version of the state's new community-level risk assessment map.

The data, from the Department of Public Health, includes a breakdown of the total number of coronavirus cases in each Massachusetts city and town, as well as the new map.

The data provided by the state in its weekly report on COVID-19 has changed as the pandemic has dragged on. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said earlier this month that her agency recognizes that it's necessary to change what data the state reports as it moves into different phases of outbreak.

Recent Coronavirus Tests Returning Positive

Among cities and towns with at least 15 new cases in the last two weeks, these 25 communities have the highest percentages of positive cases in that time period:

CommunityNumber of casesCases in the last 14 daysAverage daily incidence rate per 100,000 in the last 14 daysTotal tests in the last 14 daysPositive tests in the last 14 daysPercent positivity in the last 14 days
South Hadley2032811.1861323.72%
New Bedford2,3307053,393892.62%
Fall River1,873745.93,619932.57%
North Attleborough294174861222.56%

Data from between Aug. 5, 2020, and Aug. 19, 2020, omitting communities with under 15 new cases in that span. The state notes that previous reports were based on the number of people who tested positive, but this percentage is instead based on the total number of positive tests. Both tallies are listed in the chart above.

Lynn had the highest rate of positive tests among qualifying communities, as it did the last two weeks. Since last week, the city's rate improved slightly from 7.47% to 7.09%. Revere, which remained in second after last week, had an even smaller improvement in its rate, going from 5.5% to 5.4%. Chelsea had the third highest rate with 4.95%, an increase from 4.52% last week.

The state's overall rate of positive tests has fluctuated. In the last 14 days, 1.5% of tests in Massachusetts came back positive. The rate of recent positive tests was 1.75% on Aug. 12, 1.82% on Aug. 5, 1.74% on July 29, 1.67% on July 22 and 1.91% on July 15.

Take a closer look at last week's list.

Community Risk Assessment

Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker revealed this new metric for understanding how much the virus has spread locally.

It shows the number of cases detected on average each day over the last two weeks in each of Massachusetts' communities. More than 8 cases per 100,000 translates to a high risk, between 4 and 8 cases per 100,000 is moderate risk, and any less than that is low risk, Baker said.

A map showing the average daily number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts communities from August 2 to 15
Mass. Department of Public Health
A map showing the average daily number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts communities from Aug. 2 to 15, 2020.

Cities and towns shaded red have the greatest risk levels. There are 10 in this map, down from 11 in last week's map, which included data from July 22 to Aug. 5.

The high-risk communities in Wednesday's report are Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Lawrence, Lynn, Revere, Salem, Saugus, South Hadley and Winthrop. All of them appear on the list of communities above ranked by percent positivity.

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