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CDH reports uptick in positive COVID-19 tests

  • Cooley Dickinson Hospital at 30 Locust St. in Northampton. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 7/31/2020 3:49:04 PM

NORTHAMPTON — More coronavirus tests have been coming back positive at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

The COVID-19 positive test rate — the percentage of total tests that come back positive — more than doubled recently. Two weeks ago, 0.7% of people tested at Cooley Dickinson were positive for COVID-19, but last week, that figure increased to 1.9%, according to the hospital.

The increase was seen in both symptomatic and asymptomatic people, the hospital said. There also has been an increase in the positive test rate statewide in recent days.

“The percent of positive cases is an early indicator that infections may be rising in an area,” Dr. Joanne Levin, medical director of infection prevention at Cooley Dickinson Health Care, wrote in a statement. “We do not yet know if this is a trend that will continue, or a ‘blip.’ This is still far less activity than we saw a few months ago, but certainly bears watching closely.”

In mid-May, for example, the seven-day average positive test rate in Massachusetts was 9.6%. The rate was as high as 20% this spring at Cooley Dickinson, but “it is important to note that in the spring, testing criteria were much more restrictive than they are today, and fewer people were being tested,” spokeswoman Christina Trinchero said in a statement.

Currently, the hospital tests between 150 to 200 people each day, and an order from a doctor or the health department is required to obtain a test.

It’s important to wear masks, stay physically distanced from others, and wash your hands, Levin said.

“Despite our collective fatigue, we all need to remain vigilant,” she said.

As of Wednesday, Northampton had recorded 289 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, an increase of seven over the previous 14 days.

There were no COVID-19 patients at Cooley Dickinson Hospital as of Thursday morning, according Trinchero.

At Baystate Medical Center, 36 people tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak in a non-COVID-19 clinical unit, the hospital reported Monday. Baystate declined to release any additional numbers about the outbreak or the positive test rate on Thursday, but a spokesperson said that Baystate Medical Center currently has 16 patients with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.




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