Massachusetts health officials have reported more than 7,700 new breakthrough COVID cases over the last week, and 10 new deaths in people with breakthrough cases.
In the last week, 7,789 new breakthrough cases -- infections in people who have been vaccinated -- were reported, with 105 more vaccinated people hospitalized over the period, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday. This is a 26% decrease from the last report -- in the previous period, there were 10,624 new breakthrough cases reported.
The new report brings the total number of breakthrough cases to 490,539 and the death toll among people with breakthrough infections to 2,254.
These figures remain a small percentage of the total number of all people who have been vaccinated.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, have declined since the omicron surge, but health officials have been watching as case counts started to increase several weeks ago.
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The state reported 2,372 new cases on Tuesday, with 412 people hospitalized. Of those hospitalizations, 124 are hospitalized primarily for COVID-19 reasons. There are 29 patients in intensive care and 11 intubated.
The state's seven-day average positivity rate was at 4.58% Tuesday, compared to 4.41% on Monday.
In total, there have been 1,608,659 cases and 19,111 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
There is some potentially good news. Wastewater levels tested by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's tracking system, which started to tick up before the case count increased, are now showing a slight decrease in levels in the Boston area. Even as they increased, the levels remained nowhere near where they were during the peak of the omicron surge.
Experts have said that case count reporting may have become a less accurate indicator during the omicron surge, given the difficulties in getting tested and widespread use of rapid tests where results go unreported.
The majority of cases in New England right now are being attributed to the "stealth" omicron variant BA.2. Increases in cases abroad are raising concerns that the U.S. could soon experience another COVID-19 wave. However, medical officials have said they don't expect that the rise of BA.2 will result in as dramatic of a spike in cases as we saw in the omicron surge late last year into early 2022, though they warn that we should expect to see a "bump." It is too soon to know if that bump has peaked, doctors said Tuesday in NBC10 Boston's "COVID Q&A" series.
More than 14.4 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts.
Health officials on Tuesday reported that a total of 5,355,172 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.