Massachusetts reported 30 more coronavirus deaths on Sunday and 125 more cases of the virus.
Saturday’s COVID-19 report from the Department of Public Health’s put the state’s death toll at 7,858; the number of positive tests stands at 107,061.
The daily increase in COVID-19 deaths and cases in Massachusetts is dramatically lower than what the state was reporting two months ago, at the height of the local coronavirus surge.
The new deaths reported Sunday were lower than the daily average of the past seven days, which stood at 36. The number of new cases was lower than the previous week’s daily average of 220. Officials have warned against reading to deeply into daily numbers, but have noted positive trends.
On Wednesday, the population of coronavirus-positive patients in Massachusetts hospitals dropped below 1,000 people for the first time since the surge.
The six indicators informing how fast Massachusetts can move through the four phases of reopening the state are: the COVID-19 positive test rate, the number of individuals who died from COVID-19, the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, the health care system’s readiness, testing capacity, contact tracing capabilities. Their statuses have held steady, with half in a positive trend and half “in progress” since June 5.
The second step of Phase 2 of the state’s 4-phased reopening plan will go into effect on Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Friday. It allows indoor dining to begin, increases capacity at offices from 25% to 50% and allows retailers to open fitting rooms, though by appointment only.
Despite positive trends, the pandemic continues to disproportionately impact communities of color in the Bay State.
New data released last week shows Black and Hispanic residents of Massachusetts are more than three times more likely to become infected with the coronavirus than white residents.
The data, compiled by the state health department’s COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group, highlights how Black and Hispanic communities across Massachusetts are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
According to the data, Black non-Hispanic residents and Hispanic residents have a three-times higher positive COVID-19 case rate than white, non-Hispanic residents. Black and Hispanic residents also have higher rates of hospitalizations and are higher burden of COVID-19 deaths compared to white or Asian residents.
For months, Massachusetts has been one of the epicenters of COVID-19 in the U.S. It has the fifth-most cases among all states and the third-most deaths, but the state is now in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, which sees many businesses able to reopen their doors, though with restrictions.
Baker and other health officials have said Massachusetts’ high tallies may be due to the state testing among the most residents per capita in the country.