coronavirus

Mass. Coronavirus Death Toll Rises by 15, 201 New Cases Reported

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Another 15 people with the new coronavirus have died and 201 new confirmed and probable cases were reported, health officials said Tuesday.

Closely watched metrics like how coronavirus tests are coming back positive and the average number of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in the hospital remain roughly 90% lower than where they stood at the height of the virus' surge in Massachusetts in mid-April.

The state's death toll stands at 8,213 and the number of COVID-19 cases detected at 108,854, including confirmed and probable cases in both metrics, according to the Department of Public Health's daily report.

The Department of Public Health on Monday changed how it reports coronavirus deaths, separating confirmed and probable cases after it had combined them. The move was made to improve how it is read, bringing its report more in line with other states, for users including organizations that aggregate states' COVID-19 data, the department said.

With the exception of Boston, Massachusetts is now in Phase 3, the final step in its reopening plan before the so-called "new normal" is reached, when a vaccine or effective treatment will allow all COVID-19 restrictions to be eased. The state has been slowly reopening for months, monitoring for any outbreaks that would risk the progress made so far.

Boston heads into Phase 3 on Monday, and Mayor Marty Walsh said Tuesday that his administration had asked the governor for more time to develop more rules to keep the city safe.

"We asked for the extra week because Boston has unique needs and [because of] the amount of people that live in our city and actually work in our city, stemming from the density and population of our workforce, commercial and cultural sectors," Walsh said.

How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State — in 1 Chart

New York quickly became the epicenter of the American coronavirus outbreak, along with New Jersey. Only those states had more cases than Massachusetts early on in the pandemic. But after more time passed, all three found stability while others spiked to higher case counts.

Source: The COVID Tracking Project
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC

Gov. Charlie Baker, who usually uses his regular news conference to give an update on the virus, on Tuesday addressed another health threat: eastern equine encephalitis, a rare mosquito-borne illness that can be fatal, and which has reappeared in the state this summer after killing several people last year.

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. Their statuses have held steady, with half in a positive trend and half "in progress" since June 5.

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