BOSTON – The Department of Public Health reported more new COVID-19 cases Thursday than it has in months — 986 new cases of the highly-contagious virus that has been spreading largely uncontrolled for months.
DPH also reported the recent COVID-19 deaths of 30 people.
Since the virus was first confirmed in Massachusetts on Feb. 1, 143,927 people have been infected and 9,810 people have died.
All four of the main metrics that the Baker administration says it watches to make public health decisions are trending in the wrong direction.
The seven-day average of the positive test rate ticked up to 1.4 percent, up more than 75 percent in the last month. The three-day average number of people with COVID-19 in Massachusetts hospitals stands at 519, up more than 40 percent in the last month.
Four hospitals are using surge capacity, up from zero as recently as earlier this week. And the three-day average of the number of COVID-19 deaths is up 60 percent from earlier this month.
Despite that, DPH reported Thursday that it sees a “positive trend” on the positive test rate, the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals, the state’s testing capacity and its contact tracing capabilities.
The number of people who have died of COVID-19 and the health care system’s readiness are assessed as “in progress” in DPH’s latest update.
Meanwhile, 77 new communities have been added to the highest risk category. None, however, in Greater Lowell or Fitchburg.
The communities that are color-coded red and where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is highest include: Abington, Acushnet, Ashland, Attleboro, Avon, Berkley, Boston, Boxford, Brockton, Buckland, Canton, Chelmsford, Chelsea, Chicopee, Clinton, East Longmeadow, Everett, Fairhaven, Fall River, Framingham, Gloucester, Hanover, Hanson, Haverhill, Hingham, Holliston, Holyoke, Hudson, Kingston, Lawrence, Leicester, Lowell, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Marlborough, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Methuen, Middleborough, Middleton, Milford, Millville, Milton, Monson, New Bedford, North Andover, Norwood, Oxford, Pembroke, Plymouth, Randolph, Raynham, Revere, Rochester, Rockland, Saugus, Scituate, Seekonk, Shrewsbury, Somerset, Somerville, Springfield, Swampscott, Tyngsboro, Wakefield, Waltham, Webster, West Bridgewater, West Newbury, Westfield, Westport, Weymouth, Winthrop, Woburn, Worcester and Wrentham.
The statewide average daily case rate over the past 14 days climbed to 9.2 cases per 100,000 residents in the weekly update published Thursday, up from an average of 8.7 cases per 100,000 residents a week ago.