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Mass. coronavirus cases top 1,000 for 5th day; 36 deaths reported

Testing for coronavirus at a site in Boston's Grove Hall neighborhood last week.
Testing for coronavirus at a site in Boston's Grove Hall neighborhood last week.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts climbed by 1,137 on Wednesday, the fifth day in a row the daily tally has exceeded 1,000, the state reported.

The new cases brought the state’s case total to 150,498.

The death toll from confirmed cases rose by 36 to 9,700, the Department of Public Health reported.

The state appeared to wrestle the virus under control this summer, but case numbers rose gradually as summer wore on and fall arrived. The numbers spiked late last week. Governor Charlie Baker has urged people to stay vigilant and said the state is better prepared for cases now than it was during the devastating springtime surge.

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State officials also reported that 18,645 more people had been tested for coronavirus, bringing the total to more than 2.68 million. The number of administered tests climbed to more than 5.86 million. New antibody tests were completed for 321 people, bringing that total to 126,476.

The seven-day average of positive tests per total tests administered was at 1.8 percent. The lowest observed figure for that metric — a number watched closely by state officials — is 0.8 percent.

The state also offers on its dashboard a different measure of test positivity: daily positive tests per people tested. That number was 4.8 percent. Some experts have suggested that positive tests per people tested is a better measure of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the three-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients grew from 552 to 566. The lowest that metric has been is 302.

The number of hospitals using surge capacity was four, and the three-day average of deaths from confirmed cases was 18; the lowest that number has been is nine.

In related news, a University of Massachusetts model suggested the state’s coronavirus death tally will rise to around 10,400 by Nov. 21.

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Researchers noted that the numbers could range between 10,274 and 10,620.

The model numbers reflect both confirmed and probable coronavirus deaths. The state had tallied 9,924 confirmed and probable deaths as of Wednesday.

The model’s forecast for case numbers actually calls for fewer weekly cases by next Saturday than last Saturday. Nicholas Reich, the UMass epidemiology professor whose lab creates the ensemble forecast, said he thought the models included in it might be “undershooting a little bit.”

At the same time, he said in an e-mail, “the models are (understandably) a bit wary of the recent higher observations of new cases, similar to a few weeks back where there was one week that jumped a bit higher than the trend would have suggested and then the following week was lower, back more in line with the slow but steady increase that we’ve seen recently.”

Reich’s lab collects various models and develops a combined forecast that is intended to reflect their collective wisdom.

The lab only creates the forecast for a four-week window ahead because researchers 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 federal agency, which posts the data on its own website.

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Researchers from Google who have collaborated with Harvard on a model that looks only two weeks ahead predicted 10,225 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts by Nov. 8. The UMass model is more optimistic, predicting around 10,100 deaths by Nov. 7.

The UMass model also predicts that the total number of coronavirus deaths in the United States will reach around 248,000 by Nov. 21.

US cases have been on the rise, prompting alarm about a devastating third surge. The UMass model, which last week saw case numbers stabilizing nationally, now sees them rising in the next four weeks.


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