Positive test rate falling with 1,431 new cases

Coronavirus Local Impact

BOSTON (SHNS) – Public health authorities on Thursday reported more new cases of COVID-19 than on Wednesday, but the number of people hospitalized with the virus and the state’s average positive test rate both dropped in the latest report.

The Department of Public Health confirmed 1,431 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, increasing the state’s cumulative total to 636,476 people infected since last February. DPH also announced 17 recent COVID-19 deaths, raising the state’s death toll to 17,515 people, when counting almost 350 people who have died with likely cases of COVID-19.

The new cases came from 102,071 tests — a single-day positivity rate of about 1.4 percent. That helped drive the state’s seven-day average positive test rate down from 2.14 percent Wednesday to 2 percent as of Thursday.

DPH said there were 645 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of its latest count, a decrease of 41 patients from a day earlier. Of those patients, 158 are being treated in an intensive care unit, including 96 people who require the help of a ventilator to breathe.

Though the governors in neighboring New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island have all made announcements about the end of certain COVID-19 mitigation strategies — like the requirement to wear a mask when outdoors — Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that he remains focused on the state’s vaccine rollout.

“I expect we’ll have some stuff to say before the end of April, but at this point in time, I’m with the mayor. People need to continue to follow the rules and the guidance,” Baker said after a tour of a vaccination site with Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer.

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