Mass. Hits 2 Daily Coronavirus Test Records as It Reports 178 More Deaths

More Massachusetts residents tested positive for coronavirus in one day than ever, but the commonwealth also tested far more people in one day than ever

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Massachusetts reported 178 more deaths connected to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, bringing the state's tally to 2,360.

But it was the number of people who tested positive that stood out Thursday -- the 3,079 cases were a new daily record. That put the total of people who tested positive at 46,023.

The surge in people who tested positive came amid a huge surge in the number of people tested overall. The Department of Public Health announced 14,614 new tests Thursday, nearly twice the previous record, bringing the total tests conducted in Massachusetts to nearly 200,000.

Testing is a cornerstone of Gov. Charlie Baker's bid to corral the virus.

Governor Charlie Baker urged residents to continue practicing proper safety procedures to keep cases down.

The update from the Department of Public Health comes a day after the death toll crossed the 2,000-person mark, and with a Boston Globe analysis of the number of total deaths in the state finding it likely the death toll is undercounting.

(See the 20 Massachusetts cities and towns with the most coronavirus cases.)

Massachusetts remains one of the hardest-hit states in the nation. Only three other states had higher death tolls as of 7 p.m., according to NBC News' count: New York, New Jersey and Michigan.

Fear of the virus has caused a noticeable drop in patients arriving at hospitals, officials said at a news conference with Baker Thursday. That can mean patients are waiting too long to seek help and eventually arriving at hospitals much sicker.

Thursday brought another measure of the coronavirus' impact in the state: unemployment filings, which grew by more than 80,000 this week. More than 600,000 Massachusetts residents have applied for benefits in the last five weeks.

As coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise in Massachusetts, so too do unemployment claims.

While Middlesex County has the most deaths in Massachusetts, with 545, Hampden County has its highest death rate, 60 per 100,000 residents. That's followed by Norfolk (47 per 100,000), Suffolk (43 per 100,000) and Franklin (42 per 100,000) counties.

Middlesex County continues to have the most coronavirus cases, with 10,724, followed by Suffolk at 9,739, Essex at 6,219 and Norfolk at 4,541. But Suffolk County leads the way in terms of cases per capita, with 1,115 cases per 100,000 residents. No other county has more than 725 cases per 100,000.

Just 8% of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are in the hospital, and only 44% of the hospital beds in the state are occupied, according to the Department of Public Health. There are 1,034 people in the state's intensive care units.

More than half of the deaths reported so far in Massachusetts are in patients 80 years old or older. The average age of those who have died from the coronavirus is 82, and more than half of the people who have died, 1,316 in total, lived in long-term care facilities.

Nearly 98% of those who died had underlying conditions, and most had been hospitalized.

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