Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 5,000 at Mass. Long-Term Care Facilities

More than half of Massachusetts' COVID-19 deaths have been people living at long-term care facilities

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Another 48 people with the new coronavirus have died in Massachusetts, health officials said Wednesday, as the number of people in long-term care facilities who have died in the pandemic rose above 5,000.

Wednesday's COVID-19 report from the Department of Public Health's put the state's death toll at 7,938; the number of people infected stands at 107,611, with 172 new cases reported Wednesday.

More than half of the deaths were people living at long-term care facilities across Massachusetts -- 369 have reported at least one case of the coronavirus. Wednesday's report came out after the release of a report into one of the deadliest outbreaks, at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home for veterans, where at least 76 people with the virus died.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Public Health said 5,007 people with COVID-19 have died at long-term care facilities, up 37 from the day before, meaning the population accounted for most of the new deaths reported on the day.

Nevertheless, the daily increase in COVID-19 deaths and cases in the state is dramatically lower than what the state was reporting two months ago, at the height of the local coronavirus surge.

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.

How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State — in 1 Chart

This graph shows how the number of coronavirus cases have grown in Massachusetts, in the context of the other U.S. states, dating to the early days of the pandemic. It shows how many cases have been diagnosed each day in each state since their 500th cases. Select a state from the dropdown to highlight its track.

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

The second step of Phase 2 of the state's 4-phased reopening plan went effect on Monday. It allows indoor dining to begin, increases capacity at offices from 25% to 50% and allows retailers to open fitting rooms, though by appointment only.

For months, Massachusetts has been one of the epicenters of COVID-19 in the U.S. It has the sixth-most cases among all states -- surpassed this week by Florida -- and the third-most deaths.

Baker and other health officials have said Massachusetts' high tallies may be due to the state testing among the most residents per capita in the country.

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