Coronavirus in Mass.: 159 New Deaths, 2,221 New Cases

Residents of long-term care facilities account for half of the total deaths in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts reported 159 more coronavirus-related deaths and 2,221 more people testing positive on Friday.

Overall, the state has now seen 1,404 deaths and 34,402 people infected in the pandemic, according to the Department of Public Health.

Massachusetts is in its coronavirus surge, Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated at a news conference Friday, which was the fourth straight day where new deaths were in the hundreds.

The elderly are among the populations at most danger from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and people who live in long-term health facilities account for half of the state's deaths.

Seven-hundred and two people have died at Massachusetts long-term care facilities -- an increase of nearly 100 since Thursday. That accounts for exactly 50% of the total deaths in the state. By comparison, the 5,142 people who have tested positive at long-term care facilities make up 15% of the total number to have tested positive statewide.

More than 200 people who work or live at nursing homes in Cambridge have tested positive for coronavirus.

The death toll in Massachusetts topped 1,000 on Wednesday. Its total was fourth highest in the United States, behind New York, New Jersey and Michigan, according to NBC News' count as of Friday evening.

And Massachusetts' total case number remains the third highest in the U.S., behind only New York and New Jersey and ahead of much more populous states like California and Florida. However, the Bay State has also pushed to test as many people as possible which may factor into the number testing positive.

Baker and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said Friday that, unlike some other states, Massachusetts tests all people who die with upper respiratory symptoms for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Baker said that means "we know a lot more about who actually had COVID."

On Tuesday, Massachusetts reported 113 new deaths, followed by 157 on Wednesday and 137 Thursday. However, the Department of Health has noted "day-to-day variability in cases reported by testing laboratories."

Middlesex remains the hardest hit in Massachusetts, with 7,744 cases, an increase of about 500 since Thursday. That's followed by Suffolk County's 7,272 cases and Essex County's 4,584. On Wednesday, the state revealed the Massachusetts municipalities reporting the highest rate of coronavirus cases.

The vast majority of newly reported deaths were of people in their 60s or older, but one was in his 40s and six were in their 50s, according to the new data.

Sue O’Connell joins us again to explain why wearing a mask in public is so important. Plus, we found a Dr. Fauci plush doll that will help you get through this pandemic.
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