Massachusetts Tops 20,000 Coronavirus Cases as 96 More People Die

Friday's report noted that 247 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported at long-term care facilities thus far

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More than 20,000 people in Massachusetts have now tested positive for the new coronavirus and 599 people have died in the state, health officials reported Friday.

Friday's figures from the Department of Public Health show 96 more deaths in Massachusetts and 2,033 new cases. A total of 20,974 people in the commonwealth have now tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The figures were reported hours after the worldwide coronavirus death toll reached 100,000.

Friday was projected to be the first day of Massachusetts' peak in coronavirus hospitalizations, Gov. Charlie Baker said last week. But he said at a news conference Friday that the peak is now likelier toward April 20.

"We are about to have a very difficult couple of weeks here," Baker said. "And it could be three weeks and it could be four."

Thursday marked Massachusetts' first daily increase in coronavirus cases of more than 2,000. Baker said Friday that the state is projecting about 2,500 new coronavirus cases a day at the peak.

Another factor in the increased number of people testing positive may be that testing has increased as well -- a crucial component to understanding how far the virus has spread.

Friday was also the first day that the state's largest field hospital, at the Boston Convention and Expo Center in South Boston, was open.

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