coronavirus

Mass. COVID Numbers: 212 New Cases, 14 More Deaths, 2 Communities Downgraded

Two communities had their coronavirus risk status downgraded Friday after a laboratory was found to have reported a high number of false positive tests

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Massachusetts health officials reported 212 new confirmed coronavirus cases Friday and an additional 14 deaths, as well as a change to the state's new coronavirus risk map.

There have now been 8,582 confirmed deaths and 113,729 cases, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, is down to a new low of 1.4%, according to the department's daily COVID-19 report.

It gives the total number of coronavirus deaths as 8,810, which would indicate there are 228 deaths listed as probable.

Also on Friday, the DPH said it downgraded the risk levels for Fall River and Taunton after it identified a reporting issue by a commercial lab over three days that "resulted in a disproportionate number of false-positive results."

"The lab ceased testing when the issue was identified and is under investigation," read a statement from the DPH.

Health officials said an independent lab is now verifying test results and case numbers and risk levels for those communities have been updated accordingly.

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Amid rising coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker identifies four communities as "high risk" that will be the focus of increased enforcement of the mask mandate and crowd control.

The false positive tests moved Fall River from red, the highest risk level in the state's new community-level daily coronavirus testing average, to yellow, the second highest. Taunton went from yellow to green, the second-lowest.

Other communities may have their numbers updated as well, but no other communities' risk level is expected to change, officials said.

Friday's numbers come the same day Massachusetts school districts must submit their reopening plans to the state's education department for the fall with detailed coronavirus safety protocols.

The 289 districts must prepare plans for three different reopening models: in-person, remote or a mix of the two. Several districts have already opted for online-only or hybrid versions of in-person and remote learning.

What's your town's reopening plan? Find out here.

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