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Mass. reports 438 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 9 new deaths

A health care worker handed a collected sample to a coworker after performing a COVID test at Somerville's Assembly Square.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The closely watched uptick in coronavirus cases in Massachusetts continued Tuesday, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 438 — the first time the number had risen above 400 since early June — bringing the total to 111,033. The death toll from confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state rose by nine to 8,436.

Key metrics monitored for the state’s pace of reopening are still low relative to the springtime surge, but Tuesday’s numbers come as some experts have called recent trends disturbing — and urged the state to tighten restrictions to help stem the spread of COVID-19.


Governor Charlie Baker hinted at a news conference earlier in the day that he might slow or scale back the state’s reopening efforts if coronavirus cases continue to rise.

“We’ve only had a slight uptick from a low of 1.7 percent, to 2 percent, but we’ll be forced to adjust our plans if the data warrants it,” Baker said, referring to the percentage of coronavirus tests that come back positive.

“That could mean gathering sizes could be reduced, or we could make some of our business regulations more strict. Reopening and staying open is a big part of the goal, but obviously we can’t do that if we don’t have everybody’s help to continue to move forward,” he said.

However, he did not clearly state a specific threshold, and he suggested that free testing offered by the state in several highly-impacted communities may have affected the numbers.

“So there are literally tens of thousands of tests that are now moving into our system from communities that had previously high test scores that are now being identified as positive test cases,” Baker said. “And I would argue that bringing those communities into the free testing program has definitely increased the amount of testing that is going on there and turned up cases that we wouldn’t have turned up otherwise.”


Baker also pointed to recent clusters where people have ignored public health guidelines aimed to slow the virus, such as social distancing and wearing masks.

“We talked several times. . . about the fact there has definitely been some slippage in certain circumstances and situations,” he said.

Baker: Mass. may slow reopening
On Tuesday, Governor Baker spoke about the uptick in coronavirus cases across Massachusetts saying the state will slow reopening procedures if necessary. (Photo: Sam Doran/Pool, Video: Handout)

On Tuesday, the state Department of Public Health also reported 108 new probable cases, bringing that total to 8,170. There were no new probable deaths reported, keeping that total at 221.

State officials said 15,316 more people had been tested for the coronavirus as of Tuesday, bringing the total number of individuals tested to 1,234,106. The total number of tests administered climbed to 1,611,827.

The state reported that new antibody tests had been completed for 783 people, bringing that total to 98,298.

The seven-day weighted average of positive tests, the metric Baker referred to, was at 2.2 percent for the fifth day in a row on Monday. The current number still represents a 93 percent drop from mid-April highs.

The three-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients dropped slightly from 383 on Sunday to 378 as of Monday. It was down 89 percent since mid-April.

The number of hospitals using surge capacity stayed at three on Monday for the third consecutive day, representing an 86 percent drop since mid-April. And the three-day average of deaths from confirmed coronavirus cases dropped from 12 on Friday to 10 on Saturday — a 93 percent decrease from mid-April.


Travis Andersen and Peter Bailey-Wells of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss