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Mass. reports 542 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 17 new deaths

Matt Tauro held onto roses to give out to family members at Holy Cross Cemetery for Annette Nazzaro's funeral. Nazzaro, who lived to be 100, died of coronavirus in May.
Matt Tauro held onto roses to give out to family members at Holy Cross Cemetery for Annette Nazzaro's funeral. Nazzaro, who lived to be 100, died of coronavirus in May.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The death toll from confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts rose by 17 to 9,135, the Department of Public Health reported Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases climbed by 542 bringing the total to 126,408.

State officials also reported that 20,662 more people had been tested for coronavirus, bringing the total to more than 2.12 million. The number of administered tests climbed to more than 3.55 million. The state also reported that new antibody tests had been completed for 396 people, bringing that total to 118,843.

The seven-day rate of positive tests was 0.8 percent, which is the lowest observed figure for that metric.

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Meanwhile, the three-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients decreased from 367 to 366 in Wednesday’s daily report. The lowest that metric has been is 302.

The number of hospitals using surge capacity increased to two, and the three-day average of deaths from confirmed cases remained at 12. The lowest that number has been is nine.

Weekly figures also showed that Chelsea, Everett, Framingham, Lawrence, Lynn, Nantucket, New Bedford, Revere, Saugus, Tyngsborough, Winthrop, Worcester, and Wrentham remained high-risk communities for the virus, with more than 8 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 14 days.

Holliston and Marlborough were added to the list of high-risk communities.

Dedham, Lynnfield, Monson, and Plainville were moved out of the high-risk category and now are at moderate risk.

The numbers were released on the same day that a University of Massachusetts model predicts the state’s coronavirus death toll could rise to more than 9,600 by Oct. 17.

The model says the state could tally 9,618 deaths by that time, though researchers noted the number could range from 9,521 to 9,837.

The model numbers reflect both confirmed and probable cases. The state had tallied 9,328 confirmed and probable case deaths as of Tuesday.

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The rate of deaths reported each day has slowed after a terrifying climb this spring.

The projection comes from a lab headed by UMass Amherst associate professor Nicholas Reich that collects various models and develops a combined forecast that is intended to reflect their collective wisdom.

It only creates the forecast for a four-week window ahead because scientists believe forecasts aren’t reliable enough after that.

Reich’s lab posts its national- and state-level data every week at the Reich Lab COVID-19 Forecast Hub. The lab, already an Influenza Forecasting Center of Excellence, collaborates with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus predictions. The lab feeds the data it has collected and its ensemble forecast to the agency, which posts the data on its own website.

Researchers from Google who have collaborated with Harvard on a model that looks only two weeks ahead are predicting the death toll will rise to 9,465 by Oct. 3. That is very close to the first two weeks of the UMass model.

The UMass model also predicts that the total number of deaths in the United States from coronavirus will reach 218,761 by Oct. 17.

Looking further into the future, the closely followed model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation sees things worsening. It has projected that the nation could tally more than 378,000 coronavirus deaths by the end of the year.

The US death toll from the coronavirus topped 200,000 Tuesday, a figure unimaginable eight months ago when the scourge first reached the world’s richest nation with its sparkling laboratories, top-flight scientists and stockpiles of medicines and emergency supplies.

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Martin finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.