Massachusetts unveiled its long-awaited interactive, searchable coronavirus dashboard on Monday, making some of the state's thorough data on the pandemic more accessible to the public.
The data on Monday showed the state has confirmed more than 375,000 COVID-19 cases through the course of the pandemic. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed 4,358 new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 375,455, and an additional 60 deaths brought the death toll to 12,401.
One more probable death was also reported, meaning 270 deaths are now considered probably linked to COVID-19 in the state.
The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, has ticked up to 8.5%, the department said.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased again, to 2,339. Of those hospitalized, 423 were listed as being in intensive care units and 258 are intubated, according to the DPH.
The state is now in the middle of a post-holiday surge in coronavirus cases, one that isn't necessarily fully reflected in the data, Baker said Monday.
"Obviously, due to the holidays there are a few lags in the reporting and fewer people getting tested. We expect that will catch up pretty quickly and give us a better picture about where our current trends stand in the next few days," he said.
The new dashboard was loading when it debuted just before 5 p.m. but appeared to be having issues with its server soon afterward. A note added to the page later read, "Due to high volumes of web traffic, some users have experienced difficulty accessing today's COVID-19 Dashboard. We are working quickly to address this issue and we expect to re-post the dashboard soon."
The dashboard includes both text and graphic overviews of various coronavirus metrics, including cases, deaths, testing and hospitalizations, as well as several break-outs that offer more detail on metrics.
The Department of Public Health is taking its "data to a new level by building an interactive and more user-friendly dashboard to review it," Gov. Charlie Baker said earlier Monday at a news briefing.
The dashboard will be built out more in the future, Baker added.
The state's coronavirus data has heretofore been available in a long .pdf document made available for download around 5 p.m. every day. More data, like the town-by-town coronavirus transmission risk and how many vaccines have been administered in the state, is available in reports released weekly.
Other states have had digital dashboards for months, and Massachusetts' version has been in the works for weeks as well.
This fall, several public health experts told NBC10 Boston that the state's coronavirus data has been presented especially thoroughly. Dr. Thomas Tsai, a professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who studies public health, policy and data science, said that's more important than presenting the data accessibly and interactively.
He noted that the state of Georgia contracted out its dashboard, which looked nice but displayed questionable data — Atlanta Magazine called it a disaster that damaged the reputation of the Georgia Department of Public Health — and was a vastly worse alternative to what Massachusetts has provided.
"I actually think the Massachusetts dashboard actually has a really great wealth of data that lots of other states don't have," he said, calling the state's previous dashboard the equivalent of a Powerpoint presentation that's "very helpful to public health researchers and for public health response."