HCN News & Notes

State Adds New Metrics to Daily COVID-19 Dashboard

BOSTON — In its efforts to continue to offer transparent reporting on COVID-19, Massachusetts is adding new data elements to its daily dashboard. It will now include data on both probable cases and deaths in addition to reports on confirmed cases and deaths. To access the dashboard, click here.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department of Public Health has been reporting on the number of confirmed cases and deaths that had a positive COVID-19 molecular, or viral, test result. Probable cases are individuals who have not been tested by the standard molecular test. Probable cases have had a positive antibody test and either had COVID-19 symptoms or were likely exposed to a positive case. Probable cases also include individuals whose death certificate listed COVID-19 as a cause of death but who were not tested. The probable cases and deaths reported go back to March 1.

Also, in addition to its regular reporting on viral testing results, the dashboard will now include data on the total number daily and cumulative COVID-19 antibody tests performed. Viral testing, which is performed by nasal swab, is conducted to determine if an individual is currently infected with COVID-19. Antibody tests are blood tests used to determine if a person had COVID-19 in the past and now has antibodies against the virus.

Because there are now sufficient antibody test results to show meaningful trends, the data are being used to report on probable cases. Including probable cases will increase understanding about the impact of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.