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Mass. reports 195 new coronavirus cases, 51 new deaths

A testing site in Boston, as pictured on June 30.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

State officials reported Thursday that the coronavirus death toll in Massachusetts had risen by 51 to 8,132, and that the number of people testing positive for the virus had climbed by 195 to 109,338, 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 7,918 deaths and 104,016 cases.

The state reported 16 new confirmed-case deaths, and 35 new probable deaths. It also reported 158 new confirmed cases, plus 37 probable cases.

The numbers were released shortly after Governor Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts could enter into Phase 3 of reopening on Monday, July 6 (except for Boston, which can enter Phase 3 on Monday, July 13), meaning that fitness centers, museums, and movie theaters could once again allow people in.

Baker cited continued progress in stemming the coronavirus outbreak, but his announcement also came as other states around the country — especially in the South and West — are seeing their COVID-19 numbers spike.

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“It’s critical that we continue to be smart about how we do this,” Baker said, stressing the importance of wearing face coverings, washing hands, and practicing social distancing. “We’d hate to have to move backwards.”

On Wednesday, the state also reported that 7,786 new individuals had been given the coronavirus test, bringing the total of individuals tested to 860,936. The total number of tests that have been administered rose to 1,090,482.

And the state reported that new antibody tests had been completed for 861 people, bringing that total to 73,613.

State officials were pleased Tuesday to announce they had received zero reports of deaths that day from the coronavirus for the first time in months. On Thursday, that picture changed, with new data on fatalities by date of death showing there were at least 11 deaths on Tuesday.

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

The seven-day weighted average of positive test rates held steady at 1.8 percent for the third 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 fell on Wednesday to 725, down from 752 a day earlier. It has dropped 80 percent since April 15.

The number of hospitals using surge capacity increased from one on Tuesday to four on Wednesday. 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, also fell slightly, from 21 on Sunday to 19 on Monday. It has dropped 88 percent since April 15.

Nationwide, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases per day in the US climbed to an all-time high of more than 50,000 on Thursday, with the infection curve rising in 40 out of 50 states in a reversal that has largely spared only the Northeast. The surge has been blamed in part on Americans not wearing masks or following other social distancing rules as states lifted their lockdowns over the past few weeks.

The US recorded 50,700 new cases, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. That represents a doubling of the daily total over the past month and is higher even than what the country witnessed during the most lethal phase of the crisis in April and May, when the New York metropolitan area was easily the worst hot spot in the US.

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All but 10 states are showing an upswing in newly reported cases over the past 14 days, according to data compiled by the volunteer COVID Tracking Project. The outbreaks are most severe in Arizona, Texas, and Florida, which together with California have re-closed or otherwise clamped back down on bars, restaurants, and movie theaters over the past week or so.

Nebraska and South Dakota were the only states outside the Northeast with a downward trend in cases.

While some of the increases may be explained by expanded testing, other indicators are grim, too, including hospitalizations and positive test rates. Over the past two weeks, the percentage of positive tests has doubled in Georgia, Kansas, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Ohio. In Nevada, it has tripled. In Idaho, it is five times higher.

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