Rate of growth in COVID-19 cases slows

Death toll rises in Franklin, Berkshire, Hampden counties

THE LATEST STATE FIGURES show a modest slowing of the growth in new COVID-19 cases, but troubling increases in deaths in Franklin, Berkshire, and Hampden counties.

The number of positive tests for COVID-19 statewide increased 13 percent on Saturday to 11,736. That percentage growth is slightly below the 15 to 17 percent range of the last several days. The amount of COVID-19 testing also continues to grow fairly rapidly, rising by 5,838 tests on Saturday.

What was troubling about the Saturday data was the rising death toll in the three counties. Hampden County, where the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is located, has seen its deaths mount over recent days. It now has a total of 35, four behind Middlesex County, which has nearly four times the population of Hampden. In terms of deaths per 1,000 people, Hampden has three times the number as Middlesex.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Berkshire and Franklin counties, both relatively small in population, saw their death counts continue to rise with no apparent explanation for why. Berkshire reported three more deaths on Saturday and Franklin one. Franklin now has a total of 12 COVID-19 deaths and Berkshire 10.

Franklin has 1.7 deaths per 1,000 people, far more than any other county. Berkshire is second at .079 deaths per 1,000 people and Hampden is next at .075 deaths per 1,000 people.

In Franklin, 95 people have tested positive for COVID-19. The Baker administration is currently forecasting roughly 1.5 percent of the people who test positive for COVID-19 will end up dying. In Franklin, the percentage is currently 13 percent.