Mass. reports 212 new coronavirus cases, 14 new deaths

The death toll from confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Massachusetts rose by 14 to 8,582, state officials reported Friday, and the number of confirmed cases climbed by 212, bringing the total to 113,729.

The number of individuals tested for the coronavirus rose by 21,552, for a total of 1,402,730. An additional 618 individuals were given antibody tests, for a total of 104,191, the Department of Public Health reported Friday.

Meanwhile, the four metrics public health officials are monitoring as the Massachusetts economy reopens remained low relative to the April surge.

The seven-day weighted average of positive coronavirus test rates hit another new low, dropping to 1.4 percent from 1.5 percent.

The three-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients increased to 407 on Friday, up from 403 the day before. Meanwhile the number of hospitals using surge capacity dropped to 4 as of Thursday, down from 5 the day before.

The three-day average of deaths from confirmed coronavirus cases remained steady at 12 as of Tuesday.

Also Friday, the Department of Public Health reported that it was changing the coronavirus risk level in two Massachusetts communities after problems were found at a commercial lab that resulted in at least 130 false positive cases. The state did not identify the lab.

“The Department of Public Health has identified a reporting issue by one commercial lab over a three-day period which has resulted in a disproportionate number of false positive results being reported from that lab during that time. The lab ceased testing when the issue was identified and is under investigation,” a Department of Public Health spokeswoman said.

The estimated 700 affected tests are in the process of being verified, the department said. Verification of about 400 of those tests has so far yielded 130 false positives.

Based on that information, the DPH officials revised their color-coded map that indicates the risk level for coronavirus in each city or town. Fall River moved from red to yellow, while Taunton was moved from yellow to green. Green indicates less than four cases per 100,000 residents, yellow indicates between 4 and 8 cases per 100,000, and red indicates at least eight cases per 100,000 residents.

The department said as verification of more tests is completed, the numbers for other communities could change, but it did not expect any other risk statuses to change as a result of the problem.

The Department of Public Health this week also made changes to the data it reports in an effort to “highlight the particular data points most useful to track the daily impact of the virus.”

The department no longer reports probable cases or deaths daily, instead reporting those numbers in its weekly report on Wednesdays.

The department is no longer presenting a measure of the change since mid-April highs for key metrics that are being watched closely by state officials. Instead, it now presents the percentage each figure has changed from its lowest observed value.

The department also changed the method it uses to calculate the seven-day weighted average of positive coronavirus test rates, causing the numbers to shift downward slightly.

Jaclyn Reiss of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.




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