Mass. Hits Major Coronavirus Milestones: Death Toll Tops 2,500, Total Cases Top 50,000

A day after the state set two COVID-19 testing records, the records were topped, though in this case two huge new numbers were due in part to a reporting error from a commercial laboratory

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Another 196 people in Massachusetts have died after testing positive for the new coronavirus, raising the death toll above 2,500 to 2,556.

And a day after the state set two COVID-19 testing records, the records were topped, though on a technicality.

Nearly 5,000 more people were who tested positive were reported Friday, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, bringing the total to 50,969. A record 20,137 new tests were reported overall, more than double what the state had been reporting until Thursday.

On Thursday, 3,079 people had tested positive and 14,614 were tested overall, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Both were the highest daily numbers seen yet in Massachusetts the coronavirus crisis.

But health officials said that the data in Friday's report adjusted for a reporting error made by the laboratory company Quest that affected other states as well.

"The Massachusetts Department of Public Health received a backlog this week of almost 10,000 patient results (both positive and negative) from Quest dating back to April 13. These cases are included for the first time in today’s data," a note in the report said.

The new information was incorporated into the report. On Friday, 2,877 more people tested positive for the virus after 10,897 people were tested.

As he warned residents that Massachusetts remains in its surge at his regular coronavirus news briefing Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker discussed Thursday's records, noting that with the higher number of tests conducted, there was also a higher proportion of tests that came back negative.

As of Friday, the state has tested more than 200,000 people for the virus, and testing remains fundamental to Massachusetts' plan for reopening the economy.

Governor Charlie Baker urged residents to continue practicing proper safety procedures to keep cases down.

The United States coronavirus death toll surpassed 50,000 on Friday, and Massachusetts remains one of the states that's been hardest hit. Only three others had higher death tolls as of 2:35 p.m., according to NBC News' count: New York, New Jersey and Michigan.

(See the 20 Massachusetts cities and towns with the most coronavirus cases.)

Coronavirus Infection Rates in Mass. Cities and Towns

While Middlesex County has the most deaths in Massachusetts, with 585, Hampden County has its highest death rate, 63 per 100,000 residents. That's followed by Norfolk (52 per 100,000), Suffolk (46 per 100,000) and Franklin (43 per 100,000) counties.

Middlesex County continues to have the most coronavirus cases, with 11,681, followed by Suffolk at 10,724, Essex at 6,841 and Norfolk at 4,979. But Suffolk County leads the way in terms of cases per capita, with 1,320 cases per 100,000 residents. No other county has more than 858 cases per 100,000.

Just 8% of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are in the hospital, and only 45% of the hospital beds in the state are occupied, according to the Department of Public Health. There are 1,048 people in the state's intensive care units.

The number of patients hospitalized went down on both April 22 and 23, the most recent dates for which data was available.

More than half of the deaths reported so far in Massachusetts are in patients 80 years old or older. The average age of those who have died from the coronavirus is 82, and more than half of the people who have died, 1,429 in total, lived in long-term care facilities.

Exactly 98% of those who died had underlying conditions, and most had been previously hospitalized at some point.

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