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Framingham Weekly Covid-19 Update: It's Bad

Infection rates are bad here.

There’s no other way to look at this week’s numbers. Known Covid-19 cases soared 58% in the most recent 14-day period vs the prior week’s report, while tests only rose 5%.

Let that sink in for a minute. Known cases rose at more than 10 times the rate of tests administered.

And that meant test positivity also soared, to 7.37%, according to data released today by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The World Health Organization says levels should be at 5% or below to ensure that communities have a handle on how Covid-19 is spreading.

The statewide positivity rate was 5.25%. Statewide hospitalizations are up 865% since summertime lows and 62% in the last 30 days. “Last night, there were no ICU beds left at a hospital where I work in Boston,” tweeted Dr. Abraar Karan at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (see story at boston.com).

Framingham’s average known new cases per 100,000 population rose to 63.5. Not too long ago, high-risk “red zone” was a rate of just 8.0 (until the Baker administration changed the criteria). Framingham still easily meets the current high-risk red-zone criteria as well.

New testing center

A new free drive-through “express” testing center has opened at the Framingham State University commuter parking lot, 484 Franklin St. Appointments are required; register at https://app.beacontesting.com/login. No insurance or doctor’s referral is needed. Results are expected within 1-3 business days of testing. The center is being run by Project Beacon.

Testing at TJX and SMOC ends tomorrow (Friday, December 11)

Communities elsewhere

You can see rates elsewhere in Massachusetts in the table below, which is searchable and sortable:

Covid-19 Known New Infections Prior 14 Days

Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health

MWRA wastewater tests

Covid-19 virus found in MWRA wastewater, considered a leading indicator for future infections, remain at levels higher than the spring surge in the South region that includes Framingham.

Biobot, the lab conducting testing and analysis, has revised its protocols several times in hopes of improving accuracy. The graph below uses new protocols announced on Dec. 10. (Click a series on the legend to turn it off or on.)

Go to the MWRA site for more info on the data.

Statewide maps

This is a statewide map by community under the new Covid-19 risk color scale: