Coronavirus Hot Spots: Mass. Communities With High Rates of Positive Tests

Lynn, Revere and Everett 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 Tuesday 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
Fall River1,8551048.33,7821253.31%
South Hadley188166.3644192.95%
North Attleborough284163.8706182.55%
New Bedford2,295624.43,259762.33%

Data from between July 29, 2020, and Aug. 12, 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. Since last week, when it also led the list, the city's rate increased from 6.12% to 7.47%. Revere, which also came in second last week's list, decreased from 6.05% to 5.5%. Everett had the third highest rate with 4.98%, a slight increase from last week, when 4.82% of its tests came back positive.

The state's overall rate has fluctuated. In the last 14 days, 1.75% of tests in Massachusetts came back positive. The rate of recent positive tests was 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

On Tuesday, 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.

Massachusetts community risk map from August 12, 2020
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
This graphic shows the average number of coronavirus cases detected per 100,000 people in Massachusetts over the last two weeks.

Cities and towns shaded red have the greatest risk levels. There are 11 in this map, up from four in the first map, which included data from July 22 to Aug. 5.

The high-risk communities in Wednesday's report are Lynn, Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Saugus, Holyoke, Lawrence, Fall River, Salem, Granby and Hull. All but the last two appear on the list of communities ranked by percent positivity. Both those communities' percentages are high enough to be ranked, but their total case counts in the last two weeks are below 15.

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