Positive COVID test rate continues “slow creep” upward

Boston Statehouse

Doctor hand holding positive Coronavirus test. (Taechit Taechamanodom/Getty Images/Royalty Free)

BOSTON (SHNS) – The average rate of positive COVID-19 tests in Massachusetts continued to climb in Friday’s report from the Department of Public Health, rising above 2 percent for the first time since June.

Public health officials reported 14 new deaths among confirmed COVID-19 patients and 387 new test-confirmed cases of the disease. As it has done every day since Wednesday, the department said the number of new cases reflects a “technical reporting error by a hospital group” that led to a delay in those cases being reported to the state.

The weighted seven-day average of positive tests hit 2.1 percent as of Thursday, the report said, after three days at 2 percent. Earlier this month, the rate hovered for several days at 1.7 percent and it has been gradually creeping upward.

“It’s a slow creep, so what we’re saying is we want the slow creep to stop and start trending back down,” Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said at a Friday afternoon press conference where she and Gov. Charlie Baker urged people to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

The state’s COVID-19 caseload now stands at a cumulative 109,787, and with 8,389 deaths. When deaths among patients with probable cases of COVID-19 are added in, the fatality count rises to 8,609.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations fell by 20 in Friday’s report, to 347, and the number of patients in intensive care rose by 3, to 58. Twenty-eight COVID-19 patients were intubated, down one from the previous day.

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