Another 69 people with the new coronavirus have died in Massachusetts, with 266 new cases reported by health officials Wednesday. The number of COVID-19 patients in Bay State hospitals dipped below 1,000 for the first time in months.
The figures from the state Department of Public Health come after two consecutive days where the coronavirus death toll rose by less than 24, dramatically lower than at the height of the coronavirus surge, when more than 150 people in the state were dying every day.
While higher than the beginning of the week, Wednesday's figures remain low in comparison to mid-April and consistent with what Massachusetts has seen in the last few weeks, when it moved into the second phase of reopening.
Massachusetts' death toll now stands at 7,734 and the total number of people who've tested positive for the virus at 106,151.
There are now 998 people with the coronavirus in Massachusetts hospitals after the patient population dropped by 47 going into Wednesday. It's the first time there have been fewer than 1,000 people with the virus in the hospital in the state since before the surge, when nearly 4,000 people were hospitalized.
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.
For months, Massachusetts has been one of the epicenters of COVID-19 in the U.S. It has the fifth-most cases among all states and the third-most deaths, but the state is now in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, which sees many businesses able to reopen their doors, though with restrictions.
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.