The death toll from confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Massachusetts rose by 15 to 8,375, state officials reported Thursday, and the number of confirmed cases climbed by 304, bringing the total to 109,400.
It was the second day in a row the state has reported more than 300 new cases. However, the Department of Public Health wrote in its daily report that the total was inflated by delayed reporting.
“A technical reporting error by a hospital group caused a delay in its laboratory test results being reported to DPH,” the report said. “These newly reported test results have been included in today’s dashboard report and are reflected in today’s case totals. However, these positive test results have been assigned retrospectively to the appropriate date of test.”
The department issued a similar message after releasing Wednesday’s report.
The numbers were reported hours after Governor Charlie Baker pleaded with Massachusetts residents not to become “careless or complacent,” noting the state has recently seen a slight increase in positive COVID-19 cases.
“I know I sound like an old man talking to my children when I say this, but a big part of this is about the decisions and the behavior of all of us as individuals,” Baker said, citing a few instances of clusters related to parties and people not complying with mask and social distancing rules.
Baker also acknowledged that his administration has been considering lowering the cap on social gatherings in an effort to crack down on cases. (Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo made a similar move on Wednesday after an uptick in cases in the state, declaring, “We are partying too much.”)
“I think that’s one of the things we’re talking about,” Baker said when asked about the issue, according to the State House News Service. “But the bigger issue is not so much the nature of the size of some of these gatherings, especially the private ones that are going on in backyards and places like that. The bigger issue is honestly the behavior generally at those, which is not socially distant, no masks and in some respects a lack of respect for how this virus works and how it moves from person to person.”
The state Department of Public Health on Thursday reported no new probable-case deaths, keeping that total at 220. There were 110 new probable cases, bringing that total to 7,698.
State officials said 12,224 more people had been tested for the coronavirus as of Thursday, bringing the total number of individuals tested to 1,161,454. The total number of tests administered climbed to 1,507,320.
The state reported that new antibody tests had been completed for 869 people, bringing that total to 95,217.
Key metrics the state is eyeing for its phased reopening plan still hovered well below the numbers reported during the springtime surge.
The seven-day weighted average of positive tests stayed at 2 percent for the second consecutive day on Wednesday. That metric has generally hovered between 1.7 percent and 2 percent since mid-June. The current number represents a 93 percent drop from mid-April highs.
The three-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients rose slightly from 368 on Tuesday to 374 as of Wednesday, representing a 90 percent drop since mid-April.
The number of hospitals using surge capacity ticked up from two on Tuesday to four on Wednesday, but still represents an 81 percent drop since mid-April. And the three-day average of deaths from confirmed coronavirus cases dropped slightly to 13 on Monday, down from 16 on Sunday — a 91 percent decrease from mid-April.
Nationwide, there is a flicker of hope: The second surge of confirmed cases appears to be leveling off, according to the Associated Press. However, scientists aren’t celebrating by any means, warning that the trend is driven by four big, hard-hit states — Arizona, California, Florida and Texas — and that cases are rising in close to 30 states in all, with the outbreak’s center of gravity seemingly shifting from the Sun Belt toward the Midwest.
Some experts wonder whether the apparent caseload improvements will endure.
Deaths from the coronavirus are still mounting rapidly, according to the AP. And it’s not clear when deaths will start coming down.
Top health officials have said that it can take weeks for deaths to catch up with positive case rates, as it can take time for those sickened by the virus to eventually succumb to it.
The virus has killed over 151,000 people in the US, by far the highest death toll in the world, and the number of confirmed infections nationwide has topped 4.4 million.
Over the past week, the average number of deaths per day in the US has climbed more than 25 percent, from 843 to 1,057, according to the AP.
Florida on Thursday also reported 253 more deaths, setting its third straight single-day record.
Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from the Associated Press and State House News Service was used in this story.