Another 138 people with COVID-19 have died and 1,410 have tested positive in Massachusetts, health officials said Saturday.
The death toll now stands at 4,840, while Massachusetts has had 76,743 people test positive, according to the Department of Public Health’s daily report on the new coronavirus.
The 138 new deaths reported Saturday is lower than Friday’s 150. That day, the number of cases in Massachusetts surpassed 75,000, which was the third-highest tally nationwide.
But that report also brought good news on key statistics that Gov. Charlie Baker said he is watching closely to determine if Massachusetts can begin reopening on May 18, even if large-scale events in Boston are suspended this summer.
Baker named four key statistics: how many coronavirus tests are coming back positive, what percentage of all infected people are in the hospital, the total number of people hospitalized and the number of people in intensive care units.
On Friday, 11% of tests came back positive, the hospitalization rate ticked down to 4% after being at 5% for about a week, the number of coronavirus patients in the hospital dropped by 87 and the number in intensive care units dropped by 26.
While Baker has cautioned that one day’s results don’t indicate a trend — 208 deaths were reported Wednesday, but that appears to have been a blip among fatalities in the mid-100s this week — the numbers remained promising Saturday.
Thirteen percent of tests were positive, according to the Department of Health, which remains much lower than during the so-called coronavirus surge in mid-to-late April. The hospitalization rate remained at 4% Saturday, while the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital dropped by 120 and intensive care units had 12 fewer patients.
Massachusetts is one of the epicenters of COVID-19 in the U.S., with the third-most cases and fourth-most fatalities among all states. Illinois, with a population nearly twice that of the Bay State, is slowly catching up to its number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
Baker and other health officials have said Massachusetts’ high tallies may be due in part to a strong commitment to testing — more than 375,000 tests have been conducted as of Saturday, according to the Department of Health.
Gov. Charlie Baker announces new numbers, discusses testing data in Mass.
Middlesex County remains the Massachusetts county with the most deaths, 1,169, but it doesn’t have the highest death rate. That’s Hampden County, which has seen 94 deaths per 100,000 residents. That’s followed by Norfolk (89 per 100,000), Suffolk (87 per 100,000) and Essex (78 per 100,000) counties.
Middlesex County also continues to have the most coronavirus cases, with 17,307, followed by Suffolk at 15,119, Essex at 11,211 and Worcester at 7,611. But Suffolk County leads the way in terms of cases per capita, with 1,861 cases per 100,000 residents. No other county has more than 1,405 cases per 100,000.