Another 110 people with the new coronavirus have died in Massachusetts, health officials said Friday, with the number of confirmed cases rising by 1,239.
The state's COVID-19 death toll is now 5,592, while 83,421 people have now tested positive for the virus, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The number of deaths reported each day has been trending down in recent weeks, though it hasn't been a smooth decline, as Wednesday and Thursday showed, when health officials reported 174 and 167 new deaths respectively -- a return to levels seen in mid-April's surge.
The 110 deaths in Thursday's report is a return to the lower numbers seen in May. Leaders and health officials have encouraged the public not to draw long-term conclusions from one or two days' worth of data.
Thursday also brought Massachusetts' biggest drop in the coronavirus hospital population since the start of the pandemic, with 242 fewer patients in hospital beds. The drop continued Friday, with 92 fewer people with coronavirus in hospitals.
For the second consecutive day, just 3% of people who've tested positive for the virus are in the hospital, which Gov. Charlie Baker said at his daily briefing earlier Friday is "trending in the right direction."
The positive test rate held in the low teens, where it's been for over a week. Baker said that it's a statistic his administration is "going to keep an eye on."
"We're cautiously optimistic about this number, it's obviously down from where it was in mid-April," Baker said.
Then, it was as high as 34%, but it's been driven down in part by more testing and continued social distancing measures. The Baker administration aims to raise testing levels from 10,000-15,000 conducted per day to 45,000 per day by the end of July, and even more by the end of Septemeber.
Massachusetts has for weeks been one of the epicenters of COVID-19 in the U.S., which Baker acknowledged Friday. It has the fourth-most cases among all states -- surpassed this week by Illinois, which his now experiencing its surge -- and fatalities.
Baker and other health officials have said Massachusetts' high tallies may be due the state testing among the most residents per capita in the country -- more than 435,000 tests were conducted as of Friday, according to the Department of Public Health.