coronavirus

Mass. Tops 75,000 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases as 150 More Die

Friday's report brought good news on the COVID-19 hospitalization rate, which ticked down to 4%

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Another 1,612 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus in Massachusetts, bringing the state's total past 75,000 to 75,333, health officials said Friday.

And another 150 people have died, raising the death toll to 4,702, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

But the department has been reporting fewer daily deaths and confirmed cases, a sign that the surge has passed, and Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday that he's watching other statistics closely to determine when Massachusetts is ready to begin reopening.

Gov. Charlie Baker announces new numbers, discusses testing data in Mass.

The key statistics he named are how many tests are coming back positive, the total number of hospitalizations, the rate of infected people in the hospital and the number of people in intensive care units.

"While we'd like to see the drop come just as quickly as possible, it's not going to happen all at once, as the data shows," Baker said at the State House ahead of the release of the new figures. He urged residents to remain committed to fighting the virus "or risk losing all the progress we have made."

Friday's report brought good news on several of the statistics that Baker highlighted.

The hospitalization rate ticked down to 4% after being at 5% for about a week. The number of people in intensive care units dropped by 26 and the number of total coronavirus patients dropped by 87 as well.

And Friday brought the third-highest number of tests completed so far in the pandemic, 14,391, and a comparatively low 11% of them returned positive.

The 150 new deaths reported also continued a downward over the past week, trend though it was higher than the 132 that the state had announced on Thursday. The death toll had risen on Wednesday by 208, which was at the level of mid-to-late April.

Baker again cautioned that no single-day statistic should be taken to indicate a larger trend.

Massachusetts is one of the epicenters of COVID-19 in the U.S., with the third-most cases and fourth-most fatalities among all states. Baker and other health officials have said that may be due in part to a strong commitment to testing -- more than 366,000 tests had been conducted as of Friday, according to the Department of Health.

Middlesex County remains the Massachusetts county with the most deaths, 1,132, but it doesn't have the highest death rate. That's Hampden County, which has seen 93 deaths per 100,000 residents. That's followed by Norfolk (87 per 100,000), Suffolk (84 per 100,000) and Essex (75 per 100,000) counties.

Middlesex County also continues to have the most coronavirus cases, with 17,014, followed by Suffolk at 14,944, Essex at 10,995 and Worcester at 7,410. But Suffolk County leads the way in terms of cases per capita, with 1,813 cases per 100,000 residents. No other county has more than 1,330 cases per 100,000.

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