Massachusetts coronavirus deaths up 23, cases rise 568 a day after new high of ‘red zone’ communities

One day after a record number of Massachusetts communities landed in the coronavirus high-risk “red zone,” state health officials on Thursday reported 23 new virus deaths and 568 new cases.

The 568 new cases follows some recent reports of 700-plus cases — the highest numbers since the spring.

The 23 new coronavirus deaths and two probable coronavirus deaths bring the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 9,672, the state Department of Public Health said. The three-day average of coronavirus daily deaths has dropped from a peak of 161 in May to 19 now.

The state has logged 141,579 cases of the highly contagious disease, an increase of 568 confirmed cases and 19 probable cases since Wednesday. Of the 141,579 total cases, at least 118,892 people have recovered.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts health officials reported that 63 communities are now in the high-risk category for the coronavirus —  a state record after 40 cities and towns were on the list last week. The state overall average is now in the red zone.

The daily percentage of tested individuals who are positive continues to stay above 3%. That figure at the start of September was between 1% and 2%, but the rate was 4.0% on Monday, 3.9% on Tuesday and 4.2% on Wednesday — the most recent day of available data.

The seven-day weighted average of the state’s positive test rate held steady at 1.3% on Thursday.

Coronavirus hospitalizations went up by four patients, bringing the state’s COVID-19 hospitalization total to 503.

The highest peak of Massachusetts’ coronavirus hospitalizations was 3,965 on April 21. The three-day average of coronavirus hospitalizations has jumped from 308 last month to 505 now.

There are 92 patients in the ICU, and 34 patients are currently intubated.

An additional 14,737 tests have brought the state’s total to more than 4.9 million tests.

The state reported 25,246 residents and health care workers at long-term care facilities have now contracted the virus.

Of the state’s 9,672 total coronavirus deaths, 6,236 are connected to long-term care facilities.

More than 217,000 Americans have died. The country’s death toll is the highest in the world, which eclipsed 1 million deaths last week worldwide.

The U.S. has recorded more than 7.9 million coronavirus cases — also the most in the world. More than 3.1 million people have recovered.

More: Massachusetts coronavirus deaths up 23, cases rise 568 a day after new high of ‘red zone’ communities