FRAMINGHAM, MA — State health officials reported 515 new coronavirus cases on Saturday afternoon, bringing the state's pandemic total to just under 128,000.
Along with the new cases, the state reported 18 new deaths, although the three-day statewide average number of deaths fell to 11 — the lowest dating back to Sept. 13. A total of 9,178 state residents have died since the pandemic began.
The rise in cases comes as Massachusetts restaurants prepare to expand outdoor seating on Monday. Gov. Charlie Baker will allow businesses to sit up to 10 people at a table, up from six. Diners will also be able to sit at bars under certain circumstances.
But several large cities — including Framingham, Worcester and Boston — will forgo the expanded seating fearing a rise in cases. There are now 15 communities across the state that are considered "high-risk" for virus spread, slightly lower than the previous week.
Other cities are tightening rules to prevent further spread of the virus. On Oct. 2, Cambridge will require anyone over age 2 to wear a mask in public at all times, including outdoors. Residents and visitors could face a $300 fine for disobeying the rule.
The number of people hospitalized for coronavirus fell between Friday and Saturday, according to the state. There has been a notable outbreak at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, where 28 people have contracted the virus. Some 600 people are being tested who may have had contact with the cluster of cases.