As Massachusetts continues to reopen from the coronavirus crisis, health officials said Thursday that another 38 people have died and 519 more cases were detected.
That brings the death toll to 7,492 and the total number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, to 104,667, according to the daily report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Those numbers are much lower than what the department reported every day during the height of the coronavirus surge in April, but the possibility of another surge as the lockdown begins to lift is on Gov. Charlie Baker's mind.
"Part of the reason for pursuing a careful and cautious and phased approach to reopening was to be sure that we would be able to deal with hot spots or any examples of increases in positive testing along the way," he said at a news conference Thursday.
The six indicators informing how fast Massachusetts can move through the four phases of reopening the state are: the COVID-19 positive test rate, the number of individuals who died from COVID-19, the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, the health care system's readiness, testing capacity, contact tracing capabilities.
For months, Massachusetts has been one of the epicenters of COVID-19 in the U.S. It has the fifth-most cases among all states and the third-most deaths, but the state is now in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, which sees many businesses able to reopen their doors, though with restrictions.
Baker and other health officials have said Massachusetts' high tallies may be due to the state testing among the most residents per capita in the country.