Coronavirus Death Toll Rises by 157 in Massachusetts, 1,940 More Test Positive

The rise in the death toll is significantly lower than Wednesday's 252, Massachusetts' highest daily jump in coronavirus-related deaths so far

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Massachusetts reported another 157 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday and 1,940 more confirmed cases.

The state's death toll now stands at 3,562, while 62,205 people have tested positive for the virus, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Those figures bring New England above 100,000, along with the new numbers being reported this afternoon in Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. The regional tally had stood at 99,264 at 2:15 p.m., before most of the states had given their daily updates.

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker, in an update on COVID-19, says advisory board in talks about reopening.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts saw its highest daily jump in coronavirus-related deaths so far, with 252.

Gov. Charlie Baker has been watching the numbers carefully as he weighs when to ease the restrictions on movement and businesses in Massachusetts. He has repeatedly said he's waiting to see a distinct downward trend in the number of people testing positive before he can start to reopen the state, and he said Thursday as he detailed his efforts to reopen the state that he hasn't seen that yet.

Referring to the 252 deaths reported Wednesday, he noted that the state is tracking many statistics, but "the lives lost every day is one of those numbers that none of us is ever going to get particularly comfortable with."

For weeks, Massachusetts has had more coronavirus cases than almost every state in the nation. On Thursday, the commonwealth had the third-highest death toll and fourth-highest number of cases, according to NBC News.

Baker and other health officials have said that may be due in part to a strong commitment to testing -- over 275,000 tests have been conducted as of Wednesday, according to the Department of Health.

Just over 10,000 new tests were reported Thursday, in keeping with a trend in the last week of greater numbers of daily testing. The 10,029 tests recorded Thursday are the fifth most during the pandemic; 19% of them returned positive.

While Middlesex County has the most deaths in Massachusetts, with 845, Hampden County has its highest death rate, 79 per 100,000 residents. That's followed by Norfolk (70 per 100,000), Suffolk (65 per 100,000) and Essex (56 per 100,000) counties.

Middlesex County continues to have the most coronavirus cases, with 14,208, followed by Suffolk at 12,890, Essex at 8,673 and Norfolk at 5,896. But Suffolk County leads the way in terms of cases per capita, with 1,587 cases per 100,000 residents. No other county has more than 1,087 cases per 100,000.

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