Key COVID barometer takes jump

Daily positive test rate hits 2.65%; 7-day average 2.2%

A KEY BAROMETER of the state’s fight against COVID-19 rose sharply on Sunday.

The positive test rate (positive tests as a percentage of total tests) jumped to 2.65 percent, its highest level since June 14.

The seven-day average of the positive test rate, which smooths out temporary ups and downs, remained at 2.2 percent, the level it reached on Saturday. Still, the positive test rate has been on a steady upward climb, rising from 1.8 percent on July 27 to 2.65 percent Sunday.

The seven-day rate might even be higher but for an unusually high number of tests conducted late last week. On Friday, for example, the state conducted 19,151 tests, the highest level in two months. That higher level of testing increases the denominator of the positive test rate calculation and helps drive down the positive test rate; in July, the average number of daily tests was 10,891.

Gov. Charlie Baker has been following the situation closely, suggesting last week that tougher measures may be necessary if the numbers keep going up.  He blamed most of the increase on “lapses of judgment” by people at parties and larger gatherings.

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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.

“The situations that I just recapped are a recipe for disaster and have to stop if we want to continue to reopen and get back to a new normal,” Baker said on Friday.

“It’s a slow creep and what we’re saying is we want the slow creep to stop and go back down,” said Marylou Sudders, the governor’s secretary of health and human services.