Massachusetts on Sunday reported 92 new deaths and 1,077 additional cases from the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The state's COVID-19 death toll now stands at 5,797, while 86,010 people total have tested positive for the virus, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The number of new deaths was lower than the average of the previous seven days, which stood at around 124 deaths per day. The number of new cases was lower than the average during the same period, which was 1,170. Officials have warned, however, against reading too much into single-day statistics.
Sunday's numbers continued to show positive trends. Eight percent of tests administered in the state came back positive Sunday, marking the lowest rate since March 24. The percentage of cases currently in the hospital remained at 3 percent amid a slow-but-steady decline in that figure in recent weeks.
There were 95 fewer people in the hospital than the day before, and the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units fell by 45 to 702.
Gov. Charlie Baker has been watching the daily statistics closely ahead of the planned start of Massachusetts' reopening on Monday. He's said that the trends in the daily figures, from the number of new cases to how many people remain hospitalized, were what have been guiding his decision-making process.
The number of new deaths reported each day has, on the whole, been lower in recent weeks, though with a few days at levels reminiscent of the surge in mid-April, including Wednesday and Thursday of last week.
Baker has revealed little about his four-phase approach to reopening the commonwealth, though he allowed on Friday that his order closing non-essential businesses would be extended a day to Monday to give his Reopening Advisory Board time to safely unveil its 4-phase approach to reopening the state.
It's unclear what businesses, if any, will be allowed to reopen Monday, though he said that 54 companies totaling 150,000 employees have agreed to extend their work-from-home policies for the remainder of spring and, in some cases, for the rest of the year. He said he also plans to address whether he will lift or extend the stay-at-home advisory on Monday.
On Sunday, Dr. Sarah Fortune, chair of Harvard’s Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, said she was concerned about the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus cases as the state reopens, but expressed confidence in Baker's approach.
"I actually have a great deal of confidence in this administration, which is taking things slowly, and I think as we take things slowly and we all lean into our responsibilities as members of the community, we can do this successfully," Fortune told NBC10 Boston.
Fortune said the four keys to preventing a second wave are frequent hand washing, wearing face coverings, social distancing and people with symptoms being tested in a timely fashion.
Still, local business owners are feeling uncertainty about what the first phase of reopening will mean for them.
“We don’t know what he’s going to announce," said John Hurst, president of the Massachusetts Retailers Association. "What we would hope he would announce is some level of openings for our store members and restaurant members for the all-important Memorial Day weekend.”
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 -- nearly 450,000 tests were conducted as of Friday, according to the Department of Public Health.