State officials reported 15 new deaths and 157 new cases among people with confirmed cases of the coronavirus Monday, as much of Massachusetts entered Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, with casinos, gyms, and movie theaters now allowed to open their doors again.
The state now has 104,659 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a total of 7,983 deaths related to the virus.
The numbers, which showed continued improvement in key indicators related to the virus, came as the state again shifted the way it reports the number of cases it has tracked. Probable cases of coronavirus are no longer being included in the top-line statistics released daily by the state Department of Public Health.
The state reported six new probable cases in Massachusetts Monday, and no new deaths. Overall, there have been 5,478 cases reported as probable for coronavirus, and 215 deaths among those patients.
The Department of Public Health said it changed the format of its daily COVID-19 update to focus on confirmed cases so the data are easier to interpret and compare to other states.
Ease of use is important because state-by-state comparisons can help guide public health policy, such as travel restrictions across state lines, the department said.
Many states report only cases that have been confirmed by tests the department said.
Monday’s data also showed that the three-day average of hospitalized COVID-19 patients continued to decline, dropping from 644 to 626. That number includes both confirmed and suspected cases, as it had previously.
The three-day average of deaths dropped from 19 to 16. That number included only confirmed cases, which is the same way it has been calculated in recent days.
Meanwhile the seven-day weighted average of the positive test rate hovered at 1.8 percent for a third consecutive day. And only one hospital in the state was using surge capacity on Sunday, down from two hospitals on Friday and three on Thursday.
Even as Massachusetts moves forward with reopening, neighboring states are hitting the brakes. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced Monday he is postponing the state’s third phase of reopening “for the foreseeable future,‘' according to the Associated Press, expressing concern about the number of positive COVID-19 cases spiking in other states and those governors deciding to reverse their earlier reopening decisions.
Another 7,726 people have been tested for the coronavirus, the state also announced Monday, bringing to 893,939 the total number of people who have received coronavirus tests in Massachusetts. More than 1.1 million tests have been administered.