BOSTON – The death toll from COVID-19 climbed above 4,000 on Sunday, when the Department of Public Health reported 158 new deaths attributable to the respiratory disease in Massachusetts.
The coronavirus-caused disease has now killed 4,004 people in Massachusetts in about a month and a half. The first COVID-19 death in the state was reported on March 20.
DPH reported 1,824 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, raising the total since Feb. 1 to 68,087 — which is roughly equal to the population of Framingham.
The 1,824 new cases reported Sunday were the results of 15,652 tests conducted during the 24-hour reporting window. That’s a new single-day high for the state, surpassing the previous record of 14,614 tests set on April 23. About 12 percent of tests conducted came back positive, a positive sign from a data point that Gov. Charlie Baker has said is one his team watches closely.
The governor also keeps a close eye on the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 around the state. After five consecutive days of declining patient counts, the number of people reported as hospitalized Sunday was up by 16 people from Saturday. Though overall hospitalizations were up, the number of patients hospitalized in an intensive care unit decreased Sunday by 17.
Also Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced that seven states, including Massachusetts, had formed a regional consortium to jointly find and secure personal protective equipment for health care workers and first responders, ventilators, COVID-19 testing materials and more. Massachusetts is joining forces with New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island in the effort.
Baker has said the state needs to continue to ramp up its testing capacity and that the hunt for PPE will be a constant function of state government for the duration of the pandemic.
“I will never be satisfied that Massachusetts has what it needs with respect to gear generally because one of the biggest lessons I hope that we and others have learned through this whole experience is you have enough gear until you don’t,” he said in mid-April. “And then once you don’t, finding it and acquiring it becomes enormously difficult. … We’re gonna keep chasing all elements of that stuff because I’m honestly never going to be comfortable that we have enough.”
For the second day in a row, Baker did not hold a press availability Sunday. Though his office has been waiting until about 9 a.m. each morning to release the governor’s daily schedule, it’s a safe bet that Baker will be back in front of reporters and cameras on Monday.