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Mass. reports 2,495 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 37 new deaths

Anyelis Castro held her 1-year-old son, Samuel, as they waited in line Tuesday to get a coronavirus test at the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center's COVID-19 test site in Roxbury
Anyelis Castro held her 1-year-old son, Samuel, as they waited in line Tuesday to get a coronavirus test at the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center's COVID-19 test site in RoxburyJessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The daily count of confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts continued to climb Wednesday, with 2,495 reported.

It was the highest single-day tally in a recent spike in cases. The total number of cases in the state rose to 172,471.

The death toll from confirmed cases increased by 37 to 9,994, the Department of Public Health reported.

The state said 25,055 people were estimated to have active virus cases.

Governor Charlie Baker has acknowledged that the “trends are obviously going in the wrong direction” and said Tuesday that state officials are working to once again set up field hospitals to treat patients if more beds are needed.

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Last week, Baker imposed tighter restrictions that included requiring most businesses to close by 9:30 p.m. and reducing limits on the size of gatherings. He also modified his mask order to require people to wear masks in public, no matter how distant they are from other people.

The increases in Massachusetts come as the nation is experiencing a surge in cases — and health officials are warning of dangerous months ahead.

State officials on Wednesday reported that 80,321 more tests had been conducted for coronavirus. The total number of tests administered climbed to more than 6.9 million. New antigen tests had been completed for 2,824 people, bringing that total to 210,771.

The seven-day average rate of positive tests, which is calculated from the total number of tests administered, was at 2.9 percent. The lowest observed figure for that metric — a number watched closely by state officials — is 0.8 percent.

The seven-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients rose from 546 to 568. The lowest that metric has been is 155.

The seven-day average of deaths from confirmed cases was 20; the lowest that number has been is 11.

The state recently changed the way it reports some statistics related to positive tests, introducing a new metric that attempts to isolate the effect of public health programs undertaken by colleges, in which asymptomatic people can be tested repeatedly in an effort to rapidly identify new cases.

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On Wednesday, the state said the seven-day rate would be 4.79 percent if not for people tested in higher education settings. However, the state’s overall rate still includes others who might be repeatedly tested, such as health care workers, long-term care providers and residents, and first responders.

Meanwhile, another troubling signal came from tests of wastewater at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Deer Island treatment plant.

The amount of coronavirus detected in the wastewater from the southern section of the MWRA has now spiked higher than it was in the springtime surge, tests have found.

The results for the northern section of the system were even higher, but not as high as they reached during the deadly spring.

Sending a disturbing signal, coronavirus traces in the wastewater at Deer Island are on the rise.
Sending a disturbing signal, coronavirus traces in the wastewater at Deer Island are on the rise.MWRA

The MWRA reported results from tests completed as recently as Monday.

The test results “suggest continuing increased transmission . . . consistent with the increases we’re starting to see in case counts,” said William Hanage, a professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The consequences of these infections happening now for hospitalizations and deaths in the near future will depend on who exactly is getting infected because younger individuals are less likely to suffer severe illness,” he said in an e-mail.



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



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