Statewide, the positive test rate was 1.8 percent, more than double the September low of 0.8 percent.
The positive test rate over the last two weeks increased in 184— or 52.4 percent — of the 351 communities in the state. The rate fell in 57 — or 16.2 percent — communities and held steady in the remaining 110.
State rules require communities go three weeks without being high-risk to move on to the next phase of reopening. Towns were marked high-risk, or red, if they reported more than eight average daily confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks. Towns that spent three weeks high-risk after reopening must revert to the previous step.
Statewide, there were 11.8 average daily cases per 100,000 residents, putting the state above the high-risk threshold for a third consecutive week. Last week, the state reported 9.2 average daily cases per 100,000.
There were 1,243 new COVID-19 cases and 27 deaths reported Thursday. There have been 9,727 deaths and 151,741 confirmed cases statewide since the pandemic reached the Bay State in March.
Health officials say positive test results need to stay below 5 percent for two weeks or longer and, preferably, be closer to 2 percent, for states to safely ease restrictions. Eleven towns had positive test rates at or above 5 percent over the last two weeks, up from just three last week: Acushnet, Aquinnah, Berkley, Blandford, Buckland, Fall River, Lawrence, Lynn, New Bedford, Revere and Rowe.
Ninety communities had positive rates between 2 and 5 percent.
The state reported 18,333 new people tested Thursday, bringing the number of people tested to 2.7 million.
The data includes coronavirus cases for all Massachusetts communities, except for those with populations under 50,000 and fewer than five cases. The department said the stipulation was designed to protect the privacy of patients in those towns and cities.
The latest release also included new information on coronavirus case clusters. From Sept. 27 to Oct. 24, over 9,000 of the state’s roughly 20,000 new cases were traced to identified case clusters, but the vast majority of those cases, over 7,000, were in household clusters.
The following types of clusters accounted for between 100 and 200 cases: assisted-living facilities, hospitals, prisons and jails and senior living facilities. No other category, including childcare, schools, restaurants and places of worship, accounted for more than 100.
The state is continuing to release town-by-town testing data, including the number of people tested, the testing rate, the positive test rate, cases and infection rates.
Don’t miss updates about precautions in your area as they are announced. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters.
How to use this map: Zoom in on the map below and click on a pin to see that community’s coronavirus case data. You can also view the town-by-town coronavirus data in the spreadsheet we used to create this map.
The map does not include 310 of the state’s cases because state health officials could not determine which communities the patients lived in.
Pin colors correspond to the state’s risk classification color codes.
The state data marks Bridgewater, Chelmsford, Fairhaven, North Andover, Kingston and Somerset with asterisks, due to having more than 30 percent of their cases and at least 10 of their cases in the last two weeks linked to a long-term care facility, college or correctional facility.