Coronavirus in Massachusetts: 154 More Deaths, 2,106 More People Test Positive

Gov. Baker has been watching the state's coronavirus statistics carefully as he weighs when to ease the restrictions on movement and businesses in Massachusetts

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Another 154 people who tested positive for the new coronavirus have died in Massachusetts, health officials said Friday. They reported 2,106 more confirmed cases of the virus as well.

The state's death toll has risen to 3,716, with 64,311 total people having tested positive for the virus, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Just under 14,000 new tests were reported Friday, the second-most in a single day. And only 15% of them returned positive, the fewest since the end of March.

There are 3,716 people in the hospital, the fewest since mid-April, and 947 in intensive care units, more than 50 fewer than Thursday.

Those metrics are among those being watched by Gov. Charlie Baker as he weighs when to ease the restrictions on movement and businesses in Massachusetts. He said Friday that the rate of hospitalization, which has been ticking down over the past three days and remains at 6%, is "very good sign."

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order requiring residents to wear face coverings. The order goes into effect on May 6.

While there has been talk for days about what it would take for Massachusetts to reopen, on Friday, Baker announced that all residents will be required to wear masks or other face coverings when in public and unable to maintain social distancing starting May 6.

"This is going to be a way of life," Baker said at his daily news briefing.

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. He said Thursday as he detailed his efforts to reopen the state that he hadn't seen that yet.

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

For weeks, Massachusetts has had more coronavirus cases than almost every state in the nation, except for New York and New Jersey, and that remained true Friday, according to NBC News.

Baker and other health officials have said that may be due in part to a strong commitment to testing -- over 289,000 tests have been conducted as of Friday, according to the Department of Health.

While Middlesex County has the most deaths in Massachusetts, with 885, Hampden County has its highest death rate, 80 per 100,000 residents. That's followed by Norfolk (73 per 100,000), Suffolk (68 per 100,000) and Essex (58 per 100,000) counties.

Middlesex County continues to have the most coronavirus cases, with 14,607, followed by Suffolk at 13,295, Essex at 9,028 and Norfolk at 6,065. But Suffolk County leads the way in terms of cases per capita, with 1,637 cases per 100,000 residents. No other county has more than 1,132 cases per 100,000.

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