Massachusetts reported 70 new coronavirus-related deaths and 2,151 new cases on Thursday, bringing the state's total to 503 deaths and 18,941 cases overall.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh have continued to issue warnings that a surge in cases is expected within days or a few weeks.
On Wednesday, the Department of Public Health began including information on the race and ethnicity of the state's cases for the first time, though about 70% majority of that information was either unknown or missing on the first day.
A similar proportion of cases were had unknown or missing racial and ethnic data Thursday as well.
Last week, Baker said the state was expecting as many as 172,000 coronavirus cases in Massachusetts over the course of the pandemic, with a potential peak in hospitalizations between April 10 and April 20.
And Thursday, Walsh said "the most crucial part of the outbreak" is beginning in Boston, and that residents would need to keep up their vigilance in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading more.
Thursday marked Massachusetts' first daily increase in coronavirus cases of more than 2,000. But testing has increased as well -- a crucial component to understanding how far the virus has spread -- and according to the Department of Public Health, nearly 100,000 people have been tested as of Thursday.
The youngest among the 70 new deaths is a woman in her 30s from Suffolk County, according to the data. It wasn't immediately known if she had underlying conditions.
Most of the deaths were in people 70 or older -- the elderly are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and the Department of Public Health is reporting that 1,633 people who either live or work at long-term care facilities have tested positive among the nearly 19,000 statewide.