Mass. monitor these 6 health measures during the reopening


Governor Charlie Baker gave a much-anticipated press conference on Monday to roll out his administration’s plan to reopen Massachusetts in four phases. In his remarks, Baker reiterated what he has been saying for weeks: The reopening will be a delicate, data-driven process.

So what data, exactly, guides state decision-making?

There are six key metrics. If they continue in a positive direction, reopening processes can continue, Baker said. If they back down, the reopening will too.

“They work as a whole,” Baker said.

A closer look at the 6 metrics

State officials use the colors of the traffic lights to illustrate where the respective trend lines are heading for each measurement. Green indicates a “positive trend”, yellow indicates “in progress” and red indicates a “negative trend”. (For more details, here’s the full status report.)

(Courtesy of

Starting Monday, the state will provide daily updates on the six measures. We will have the latest data on them as soon as it becomes available. For a full picture, check out our latest COVID-19 maps and charts.

“COVID-19 positive test rate” and “Test capacity”

The Baker administration has set ambitious COVID-19 testing targets for the coming months.

“Testing and tracing will remain essential to getting ahead of this virus, containing it and a vital part of our ability to move the economy forward,” Baker said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the state is currently using a third of its testing capacity and its main goal is to keep the positive test rate below 5%. The state submits a test plan to the federal government no later than May 24, she said.

“We want to expand the processing capacity of laboratories to prepare for a possible increase in falls and test residents and patients in high-risk collective environments, including our skilled nursing facilities, penitentiaries and public hospitals. and state-run or funded group homes, ”Sudders said.

‘Number of persons Who died from COVID-19 ‘

Sudders said that although the state will monitor this measure closely, “until we have a handful or no deaths, we can never say that we have a positive trend in this area.”

“Number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals” and “health system readiness”

Closely related to the number of patients currently hospitalized is the “readiness” of the Massachusetts healthcare system – a number that has slowly and steadily declined since it peaked in late April. Some field hospitals set up to offset the expected increase in cases have also started to close.

“Statewide, we have 30% availability for intensive care and medico-surgical beds,” Sudders said Monday.

This measure of bed availability is used to help determine how the state’s health care system might respond if, hypothetically, the number of cases and hospitalizations begin to increase.

“Contact tracing capabilities”

Massachusetts launched its first contact tracing program in the country in early April. (Here’s how it works.) The state has invested millions in setting up the program, but its impact has been mitigated by some residents not answering their phones when contacted by members of the research collaboration.

Along with the testing, Baker has repeatedly said expanding and improving the contact tracing process will be key to Massachusetts’ economic recovery.

“From our point of view this is a must have compared to anything that looks like a reopening of the Commonwealth or a move towards opening up the economy,” he said during a briefing. daily press last month.

You can also view our city-by-city map below to learn more about the impact of the virus in your community.

The Directorate of Public Health (DPH) updates data on deaths and cases by city and municipality once a week, on Wednesdays. Click on the interactive above to see how your city has been affected. To learn more, explore a sortable board with each town and village here.


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