MASSACHUSETTS — Massachusetts reported 21 deaths Thursday, bringing the state's total confirmed deaths related to the virus above 10,000. The state also reported 2,482 new cases and designated 30 communities as high-risk in the latest town-by-town data, up from 16 last week.
There have been 10,015 confirmed deaths and 174,953 confirmed cases statewide since the pandemic reached the Bay State in March. The statewide positive test rate rose to 2.9 percent, the highest level since June.
In all likelihood, the state had already passed 10,000 deaths related to the virus. On Thursday, the Department of Public Health reported there had been 10,242 "total deaths in COVID-19 cases," though 227 of those were probable cases.
The rate of deaths has slowed considerably since the early spring, when a high of 204 deaths was reported on April 24. An increasing knowledge of the virus, including what groups are most at risk, has helped bring the fatalities down, even as cases have surged.
In response to the resurgence of the virus, Gov. Charlie Baker recently issued a new set of guidelines aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus. People are required to wear masks in all public places regardless of social distancing, many businesses must close at 9:30 p.m. and a stay-at-home advisory is in effect beginning at 10 p.m.
At the same time, Baker has encouraged school districts to pursue in-person learning, and last week the state introduced new metrics which cut the number of high-risk communities from 121 to just 16, despite rising caseloads across the state.
"We're nowhere near the uncharted territory we were at in the spring. Nowhere near it," Baker said Thursday.
The following 30 communities were designated high-risk Thursday: Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Clinton, Dighton, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Freetown, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Marion, Methuen, Milford, New Bedford, Norfolk, Plainville, Revere, Seekonk, Shirley, Somerset, Springfield, Swansea, Tisbury, Uxbridge, West Springfield and Westport.
The positive test rate over the last two weeks increased in 223 — or 63.5 percent — of the 351 communities in the state. The rate fell in 66 — or 18.8 percent — communities and held steady in the remaining 62.
Statewide, there were 20.7 average daily cases per 100,000 residents, up from 15.3 last week.
Health officials say positive test results need to stay below 5 percent for two weeks or longer and, preferably, be closer to 2 percent, for states to safely ease restrictions. Thirty towns had positive test rates at or above 5 percent over the last two weeks, up from 17 last week.
Over 100 communities had positive rates between 2 and 5 percent.
The state reported 98,075 new tests Friday, bringing the total number of tests to 7 million.
The data includes coronavirus cases for all Massachusetts communities, except for those with populations under 50,000 and fewer than five cases. The department said the stipulation was designed to protect the privacy of patients in those towns and cities.
The state is continuing to release town-by-town testing data, including the number of people tested, the testing rate, the positive test rate, cases and infection rates.
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How to use this map: Zoom in on the map below and click on a pin to see that community's coronavirus case data. You can also view the town-by-town coronavirus data in the spreadsheet we used to create this map.
The map does not include 422 of the state's cases because state health officials could not determine which communities the patients lived in.
Pin colors correspond to changes in positive test rates: cities and towns with rising test rates are marked red, those with falling test rates are marked green and those with level test rates are yellow.