Mass. Reports 65 New Coronavirus Deaths, Second Lowest Total in Over a Month

Monday's report from the state Department of Public Health included new data on six key public health indicators that Gov. Charlie Baker has said must continue to show progress

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Massachusetts on Monday reported 65 new deaths and 1,042 additional cases from the coronavirus outbreak.

The state's COVID-19 death toll now stands at 5,862, while 87,052 people total have tested positive for the virus, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Monday's death toll represented the second lowest number of coronavirus fatalities the state has seen since April 6.

Monday's report from the state Department of Public Health included new data on six key public health indicators that Gov. Charlie Baker has said must continue to show progress before and during reopening.

The COVID-19 positive test rate and the state's testing capacity both continued to rend positively, according to Monday's report. The number of deaths, the number of hospitalizations, the health care system's readiness and the state's contact tracing capabilities remain in progress. No negative trends were reported Monday.

Seventeen percent of tests administered in the state came back positive Monday, more than double the previous day's percentage.

The Baker administration on Monday unveiled Massachusetts' plans for reopening the economy.

There were 64 fewer people in the hospital than the day before, and the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units fell from 702 to 674.

The continued positive trends came as Baker on Monday announced his 4-phase plan for reopening the state's economy.

In the first phase to begin Monday, manufacturing and construction will be allowed to reopen provided they follow guidance and standards meant to protect against the spread of the virus. Houses of worship will also be allowed to resume services if they can also follow social distancing guidance. Outdoor services are encouraged.

On May 25, lab and office spaces can reopen as well as some personal services such as hair salons, pet grooming and car wash locations. Retail business will be allowed to do remote fulfillment and curbside pick-up. On June 1, some office space can reopen in Boston.

Safety measures will be required at all job sites with the resumption of construction in Massachusetts.

Also as part of the first phase of reopening, hospitals and community health centers will be allowed to provide high-priority preventative care, pediatric care and treatment for high risk patients and conditions.

Some recreation will also be allowed to reopen on May 25 as part of phase one as long as they adhere to social distancing guidance. That includes parks, drive-in theaters, some athletic fields and courts, most fishing, hunting, and boating, outdoor gardens, zoos, and reserves.

Baker said a key to a successful reopening is maintaining proper hygiene, practicing social distancing protocols, and continuing to mandate the use of masks or other facial coverings in public places.

The plan calls for people over the age of 65 and people who have underlying health conditions — who are at high risk for COVID-19 — to continue to stay home except for essential errands such as going to the grocery store and to attend to health care needs.

All residents are advised to leave home only for health care, worship and permitted work, shopping, and outdoor activities, Baker said. Residents are also warned not to participate in close contact activities such as pick-up sports games.

Phase two will including the reopening of retail businesses, restaurants, hotels and other personal services such as nail salons and day spas.

The first phase and subsequent phases will last at least three weeks and could stretch longer. If health data trends are negative, specific industries, regions or the entire state may need to return to an earlier phase, Baker said.

Massachusetts has had the third highest number of deaths of any state, after New York and New Jersey.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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