Massachusetts reported nearly 4,500 new confirmed coronavirus cases Friday, but cautioned that it included reports from the past two days. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health did not publish a daily COVID-19 report on Thanksgiving, which resulted in the extended period of time for new cases to be tallied.
Health officials had said they would not publish Thursday's daily coronavirus numbers because of the holiday, instead publishing both reports on Friday. The 4,464 new confirmed cases and 29 new deaths reflected case counts from Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning, the DPH noted on its website.
There have now been 10,401 confirmed deaths and 211,748 cases, according to DPH. Another 234 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.
The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, ticked up slightly to 3.28%, according to the report.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased to 986. Of that number, 209 were listed as being in intensive care units and 109 are intubated, according to DPH.
The new numbers come the same day the state published its most recent weekly report and its updated travel order.
According to the latest weekly community-level data on the pandemic, there are now 81 communities considered at the highest risk for transmitting the new coronavirus in Massachusetts.
The total is almost 20 more than the 62 towns and cities in the report last week, which was itself nearly twice the number of communities in the red the week before.
It leaves Hawaii as the only state that Massachusetts considers low-enough risk for quarantine-free travel. The change goes into effect 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 28.
The latest update to the state's travel order comes as millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways for Thanksgiving at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire, disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household.
More people in the United States traveled by plane on the day before Thanksgiving than any day since March. On Wednesday 1,070,967 people went through TSA checkpoints, according to figures from the Transportation Security Administration.
In all 6.8 million people headed to airports across the country in the week leading up to Thanksgiving day despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities had begged people not to travel and urged them to keep their Thanksgiving celebrations small.
Experts are worried that people disregarding state and local restrictions over the Thanksgiving holiday could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death.
The U.S. reached 13 million diagnosed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, another milestone in a month riddled with them.