coronavirus

137 More Coronavirus Deaths in Mass. as Total Count Tops 30,000

Massachusetts has among the most coronavirus cases and fatalities in the United States

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Massachusetts has reported more than 100 coronavirus-related deaths for the third straight day, as the total number of people to test positive has topped 30,000.

Another 137 people have died, according to the Department of Public Health, while 2,263 more have tested positive. Overall, the state has now seen 1,245 deaths and 32,181 people infected in the pandemic.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker gives his daily update on the state's coronavirus response on Thursday, April 16, 2020.

Massachusetts is experiencing its coronavirus surge, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday, when the death toll topped 1,000.

That's among the highest in the United States, behind New York, New Jersey and Michigan, according to NBC News' count as of 6:15 p.m. Thursday.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts reported 113 new deaths, followed by 157 on Wednesday. However, the Department of Health has noted "day-to-day variability in cases reported by testing laboratories."

And Massachusetts' total case number remains the third highest in the U.S. as of Wednesday evening, behind only New York and New Jersey and ahead of much more populous states like California and Florida. However, the Bay State has also pushed to test as many people as possible -- more than 140,000 as of Thursday -- which may factor into the number testing positive.

In an effort to better control the virus after the surge, Massachusetts has entered into an ambitious, $44 million contact-tracing initiative that aims to inform anyone believed to have been exposed to someone who tests positive for the coronavirus.

The program is "the key to stopping the spread of coronavirus and saving more lives," Baker said Thursday.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker gives his daily update on the state's coronavirus response on Thursday, April 16, 2020.

Middlesex remains the hardest hit in Massachusetts, with 7,206 cases. That's followed by Suffolk County's 6,820 cases and Essex County's 4,245. Starting Wednesday, the state revealed the Massachusetts municipalities reporting the highest rate of coronavirus cases.

The vast majority of newly reported deaths were of people in their 60s or older, but two were in their 40s and four were in their 50s, according to the new data.

The elderly are among the populations at most danger from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and people who live in long-term health facilities remain account for nearly half of the state's deaths.

Six-hundred and ten people have died at Massachusetts long-term care facilities, about 49% of the total in the state. By comparison, the 4,798 people who have tested positive at long-term care facilities make up 15% of the total number to have tested positive statewide.

Many Americans are making their own face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and experts say some materials are better than others.
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