Massachusetts health officials reported more than 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday — just the fourth time the figure has exceeded that mark in a single day, each coming within the past two weeks.
There were 7,110 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state Saturday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported, as well 90 new confirmed coronavirus deaths.
There have now been a total of 12,798 deaths and 407,933 cases, according to DPH.
Another 276 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.
The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, fell again Saturday to 7.35%, the department said.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 also dropped, to 2,291. Of that number, 445 were listed as being in intensive care units and 280 are intubated, according to DPH.
More coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, which have continued to climb in the wake of the holiday season, have prompted Massachusetts to set up a pool testing program in schools across the state. This measure aims to expand the net of COVID-19 monitoring and encourage schools to allow in-person learning.
More on the Coronavirus in Mass.
Under the pool testing program outlined by Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday, teachers, staffers and students would be tested in batches of 10. This allows a larger portion of the population to get tested for the virus more efficiently, but would not indicate whether a specific individual has COVID-19.
A handful of school districts are already using pool testing, including Salem, Watertown and Medford.
The new pool testing program will be available to schools next month.
Meanwhile, Baker has extended coronavirus restrictions put in place on Dec. 26 through Jan. 24. These rules limit many businesses to 25% capacity, and set caps on indoor gatherings at 10 people and outdoor gatherings at 25.