Massachusetts reports 290 new coronavirus cases, 17 new deaths as positive test rate stays higher

Massachusetts public health officials reported 290 new coronavirus cases and 17 more deaths on Saturday as the positive test rate remained elevated.

The new deaths bring the state’s COVID-19 toll to 8,406, according to data from the Department of Public Health.

The 290 new cases Saturday reflected ongoing delays in reporting test results to the state that have plagued data releases in recent days, the department wrote in its dashboard.

There are now 110,077 confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts. Another 138 probable cases were reported, for a total of 7,963.

The seven-day average positive test rate — a key metric that’s been ticking up the past few days after remaining well under 2% for most of July — hovered at 2.1% to close out the month.

“We’re obviously monitoring this closely,” Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday. “But simply put it’s a reminder to us all that COVID’s not taking the summer off and we must all respect the virus.”

The three-day average number of hospitalizations declined to 361, down 90% since mid-April, while one more hospital reported using surge capacity, for a total of four. There were 369 patients hospitalized as of Saturday, with 53 in intensive care units and 26 people intubated.

The three-day average number of deaths was 14 as of Wednesday. Long-term care facilities reported another 11 deaths for a total of 5,497 since the pandemic began. There are now 376 facilities reporting at least one COVID-19 case, and 24,224 workers and residents have been sickened.

With key metrics ticking up, the state has embarked on a #MaskUpMA social media campaign to drill down on the importance of wearing a face covering in public, enlisting everyone from the Massachusetts congressional delegation to scores of Boston’s essential workers to promote the message.

And as cases continue to surge in states across the country, new travel restrictions went into effect Saturday requiring visitors and Massachusetts residents to fill out a travel form and quarantine for 14 days unless they’re coming from a low-risk state or can produce a negative test result — or face fines of $500 per day if they break these rules.

There are now more than 4.5 million coronavirus cases in the United States and 17.6 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. More than 153,000 Americans are among the 680,000 deaths from the disease worldwide. Some 10 million people have recovered globally, including 1.4 million Americans.


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