ROME, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Italian authorities on Thursday confirmed 3,296 people tested positive to the new coronavirus, an increase of 590 cases compared to the previous day.

The figure did not include recoveries or fatalities, whose numbers were provided separately by Civil Protection Department chief Angelo Borrelli, who also serves as extraordinary commissioner for the coronavirus emergency.

"We have registered 138 new cases of people who have recovered and have been dismissed (by hospital), which brings the total number of recoveries so far to 414," Borrelli told a televised press conference at 6 p.m. local time.

"Forty-one more people died, which means the total number of fatalities has reached 148."

The official specified the victims ranged between 66 years and 94 years, and that "all of them were in fragile health conditions, and for a large majority, had previous diseases."

As in the previous days, the Health Ministry specified in the daily statement that the total of 148 fatalities "can be confirmed only upon certification of the effective cause of death by the National Health Institute (ISS)."

Adding death toll and recoveries, the country's total figure of assessed cases was 3,858, the ministry added.

Lombardy remained the region hit worst by the epidemic, with a daily increase of 280 infections that brought the total of 1,777 positive cases.

It was followed by Emilia Romagna region (142 new infections, and a total of 658 people who tested positive), and Veneto (35 new infections and 380 infections).

With regard to the 3,296 people positive to the new coronavirus, some 1,155 were currently under house confinement -- because of asymptomatic or with light symptoms -- another 1,790 were in hospital with symptoms, and 351 in intensive care.

"Those in intensive care units represent about 10 percent of the population overall affected by the coronavirus (including death toll and recoveries)," Borrelli told reporters.

He added recoveries made 10.73 percent, while fatalities made 3.84 percent of the total population affected so far.

In a separate statement on Thursday, Italy's Superior Institute of Health(ISS) explained that "the average age of the deceased positive to COVID-19 is 81 years; they are mostly male, and, in more than two-thirds of cases, they had three or more pre-existing diseases."

"This resulted from an analysis made by ISS on data concerning 105 Italian patients who died up to March 4, which highlights there are 20 years of difference between the average age of the deceased and that of virus-positive patients," the ISS stated.