Another 130 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 1,952 other positive tests – NBC Boston

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The number of deaths from coronavirus in Massachusetts has increased by another 130, health officials said on Saturday, while an additional 1,952 people tested positive for the virus.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has reported that 3,846 people have died and 66,263 have tested positive for the virus.

The hospitalization rate – the percentage of coronavirus positive patients in the hospital – fell to 5% on Saturday, following a recent trend. There are 3,601 people in the hospital, the least since mid-April, and 921 in the intensive care units, a figure that has also declined in recent days.

The state reported a much higher number of daily tests since April 23 than it had done before, and this was accompanied by a lower percentage of people testing positive for the virus – one of the many statistics that Governor Charlie Baker looks at while he is weighing when to ease travel and business restrictions in Massachusetts.

On Saturday, the state tested 9,358 people and 21% tested positive. Friday’s 15% positive was the lowest since the end of March.

A study, led by Massachusetts General Hospital, is being finalized and will help doctors further examine anti-coronavirus antibodies.

But Massachusetts is one of the many states in the country not to test their populations at the daily rate recommended by Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and colleagues, according to the Associated Press. The Harvard team developed its statistics in mid-April and noted that the projections for the American cases have increased since then.

Jha and colleagues based their test goals, in part, on the number of tests needed to screen enough people to push positive results below 10%, the level that the World Health Organization considers sufficient to contain the epidemic. More than 16 percent of US tests nationwide are positive for the virus, according to figures compiled by the COVID Tracking Project website. This compares to a rate of around 3% in South Korea, a country praised for its aggressive testing.

Massachusetts is one of the COVID-19 epicenters in the United States, with the third case and the fourth death. Baker and other health officials have said it may be due in part to a strong commitment to testing – more than 289,000 tests were completed on Friday, according to the health ministry.

Although there have been discussions for days on what it would take to reopen Massachusetts on Friday, Baker announced that all residents will be required to wear masks or other face covers in public and unable to maintain a social distance from May 6.

“It will be a way of life,” Baker said in his daily press briefing.

Mass. Governor Charlie Baker signed a decree requiring residents to wear face covers. The order comes into force on May 6.

While Middlesex County has the most deaths in Massachusetts, with 923, Hampden County has its highest death rate, 82 per 100,000 population. Next are Norfolk (75 per 100,000), Suffolk (70 per 100,000) and Essex (61 per 100,000) counties.

Middlesex County continues to have the most coronavirus cases, with 15,048, followed by Suffolk with 13,606, Essex with 9,362 and Norfolk with 6,187. But Suffolk County leads the way in terms of cases per capita , with 1,679 cases per 100,000 population. No other county has more than 1,174 cases per 100,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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