Massachusetts health officials on Thursday reported 71 new coronavirus deaths and 7,136 new cases, a single-day record high number of cases for the Bay State as infections and hospitalizations continue to surge following the holiday season.

Thursday’s tally of 7,136 cases follows Wednesday’s 6,419 cases. The last day of 2020 had been the state’s single-day record high of 6,887 new cases.

Cases are growing and hospitalizations continue to climb, driven in part by “people letting their guard down” during holiday gatherings, Baker said at a Thursday press conference when he announced the extension of business restrictions amid the post-holiday surge.

Thursday’s 71 new virus deaths and two new probable virus deaths bring the state’s total COVID-19 death toll to 12,909. The seven-day average of daily deaths is now 61, a significant jump from 13 daily deaths in early October. The death average peaked with 175 daily deaths in late April.

Of Massachusetts’ 411,601 total recorded cases, at least 293,522 people have recovered. Health officials estimate there are 81,604 active cases across the state.

The seven-day weighted average of the state’s positive test rate — removing higher education — has spiked to an elevated level of 9.1%. The rate was 7.3% in the week before Christmas, and 1.7% at the start of September.

Statewide coronavirus hospitalizations on Thursday went down by 30 patients, bringing the hospitalization total to 2,386.

The 2,386 patients is a significant jump from 436 patients at the start of November. The highest peak of Massachusetts’ coronavirus hospitalizations was 3,965 on April 21.

A total of 431 staff and students in Massachusetts schools have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past two weeks, a drop off from 949 cases before Christmas. School districts have been off on winter break, so there have been less students and staff inside buildings.

Of the 12,909 total deaths in Massachusetts, 7,523 deaths have been reported in long-term care facilities.

The U.S. has recorded more than 364,000 coronavirus deaths and 21.4 million cases. The country’s death toll and case count are the highest in the world.

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