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Mass. reports 226 new coronavirus cases, 25 new deaths; key reopening metrics linger at lower levels

A testing site in Boston, as pictured June 18.
A testing site in Boston, as pictured June 18.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

State officials reported Thursday that the coronavirus death toll in Massachusetts had risen by 25 to 7,963 and that the number of people testing positive for the virus had climbed by 226 to 107,837, as key metrics monitored by the state lingered at low levels relative to the springtime surge.

The numbers reflected both confirmed and probable deaths and cases. When confirmed cases only are included, the tally is 7,776 deaths and 102,922 cases.

The state reported 24 new confirmed-case deaths, and one new probable death. It also reported 160 new confirmed cases, plus 66 probable cases.

The state also reported that 10,318 new individuals had been given the molecular coronavirus test, bringing the total of individuals tested to 800,541. The total number of molecular tests that have been administered rose above 1 million, to 1,009,203.

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The state also reported that new antibody tests had been completed for 908 people, bringing that total to 66,753.

Meanwhile, two of the four key metrics that the state is monitoring to determine the pace of reopening fell, while two stayed stable.

The seven-day weighted average of positive test rates held steady at 1.8 percent for the second consecutive day on Wednesday. It has dropped 94 percent since April 15.

The three-day average of the number of patients hospitalized for the coronavirus decreased slightly on Wednesday to 905, down from from 937 a day earlier. It has dropped 75 percent since April 15.

The number of hospitals using surge capacity stayed stable at four on Wednesday, the second day in a row. However, the statistic is still down from a high of more than 20 in early May, and has seen an 81 percent decrease since April 15.

A fourth metric, the three-day average of COVID-19 deaths, fell slightly, from 25 on Sunday to 21 on Monday. It has dropped 86 percent since April 15.

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“Massachusetts continues to see encouraging public health data to support our gradual and phased reopening,” Governor Charlie Baker said at a press conference earlier Thursday, speaking about the previous day’s numbers. “We’re obviously encouraged by all the progress that’s been made here in Massachusetts over the course of the past several months.”

However, Baker noted that “we all have a role to play,” and advised people to continue to wear face coverings, keep up social distancing, and practice good hygiene, especially as the state cautiously reopens.

The Massachusetts statistics come as COVID-19 numbers are surging elsewhere in the United States, namely in the South and West.

The US recorded 34,500 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, slightly fewer than the day before but still near the high of 36,400 reached on April 24, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The daily average has climbed by more than 50 percent over the past two weeks, according to an Associated Press analysis. 

Although expanded testing likely accounts for some of the increase, experts say other measures indicate the coronavirus is making a comeback. Daily deaths, hospitalizations, and the percentage of tests that are coming back positive have also have been rising.

In Arizona, 23 percent of coronavirus tests conducted over the last seven days have been positive, nearly triple the national average, and a record 415 patients were on ventilators. Mississippi also saw its daily count of new cases reach new highs twice this week. 

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Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, whose state was among the first to reopen, paused any further steps and reimposed a ban on elective surgeries in some areas to preserve hospital space after the number of patients statewide more than doubled in two weeks. And Nevada’s governor ordered the wearing of face masks in public — Las Vegas casinos included. 

Meanwhile, officials at the US Centers for Disease Control estimated Thursday that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States, meaning that the vast majority of the population remains susceptible.

The estimate is roughly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed. Officials have long known that millions of people were infected without knowing it and that many cases are being missed because of gaps in testing.

Still, 20 million infections means that only about 6 percent of the nation’s 331 million people have been infected.

“It’s clear that many individuals in this nation are still susceptible,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, during a call with reporters Thursday. “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually are 10 more infections.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss