Massachusetts finally seeing downward coronavirus trends

Coronavirus trends in Massachusetts are finally yielding encouraging results as the start of summer nears and a shred of normalcy — along with a sense of hope — flows in with this new tide.

Daily data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health indicates coronavirus deaths, hospitalizations, test rates, hospital readiness and contact tracing capabilities are all either trending positive or “in progress.”

None of the categories are trending negative, as they once had when the state experienced its peak dark days in April.

“People have worked really hard and given up a tremendous amount over the course of the past eight or 10 weeks to bend the trend on this — and we succeeded,” Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday, urging everyone to still wear masks.

Massachusetts health officials on Friday reported coronavirus hospitalizations went down by 73 patients, following a recent trend that brings the state’s COVID-19 hospitalization total to 2,323.

Overall, the statewide hospitalization total has declined by 1,239 since May 5. The number of hospitals using surge capacity is 13, down from a peak of 23 earlier this month.

The highest peak of Massachusetts coronavirus hospitalizations was 3,965 on April 21. The three-day average of hospitalized coronavirus patients has gone down 33%.

The state’s total coronavirus tests have risen to 511,644 and the seven-day weighted average of the state’s positive test rate has declined from 16.6% on May 1 to 9.2% now, a crucial step in leaving the worst days of the pandemic behind and looking toward a healthier future.

Officials reported Friday that 80 more people have died from the coronavirus, from the day before, as the number of confirmed cases increased by 805.

The 80 new deaths bring the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 6,228, the state Department of Public Health announced, but the three-day average of coronavirus daily deaths has dropped from 159 at the start of May to 76 now.

The state has logged 90,889 confirmed cases of the disease, an increase of 805 cases since Thursday.

Middlesex County has the most confirmed cases in Massachusetts with 20,085 cases, followed by Suffolk County with 17,180 cases.

The state reported 19,305 residents and health care workers at long-term care facilities have now contracted the virus, with 345 facilities reporting at least one case of COVID-19.

Of the state’s 6,228 total coronavirus deaths, 3,807 deaths are connected to long-term care facilities.

Starting on Memorial Day, on May 25, beaches, parks and drive-in movie theaters can reopen with restrictions along with other longed-for businesses such as hair salons, pet grooming, car washes and outdoor gardens.

The U.S. has recorded nearly 1.6 million coronavirus cases — the most cases in the world. More than 95,000 Americans have died, and nearly 300,000 have recovered.

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