Massachusetts health officials on Tuesday reported more than 82,000 new breakthrough COVID cases over the past week, nearly doubling last week's total, and 112 more deaths in people with breakthrough cases.
In the last week, 82,466 new breakthrough cases -- infections in people who have been vaccinated -- were reported, with 644 more vaccinated people hospitalized, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday. It's an 83% increase in the rate of new breakthrough cases in Massachusetts -- last week saw 45,029 new COVID infections in vaccinated people, which was a 122% jump from the week before.
The new report brings the total number of breakthrough cases to 262,060, and the death toll among people with breakthrough infections to 1,054.
Both figures remain a tiny percentage of the total number of all people who have been vaccinated.
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The equivalent of just 0.09% of vaccinated people have been hospitalized with COVID and 5.1% have had confirmed infections. An even smaller percentage has died: 0.02%. The report also doesn't indicate how many of the breakthrough cases are in people with underlying conditions, though it also notes that "may be undercounted due to discrepancies" in records.
While vaccinated people are getting COVID-19, the virus' effects are severely blunted in them, and breakthrough cases rarely lead to hospitalizations or deaths. Last month, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials released a study that found that 97% of breakthrough cases in the state did not become severely ill and rarely led to deaths, especially among young people.
That's why public health officials worldwide continue to stress the importance of vaccination and booster shots. (If you still need to be vaccinated, here's a tool to find the closest vaccination provider to your home.)
Also Tuesday, another 17,802 confirmed coronavirus cases and 116 new deaths were reported, pushing the state's number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 1,264,925 since the start of the pandemic and its death toll to 20,275.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, dashboard, have been spiking to heights not seen since previous surges, thought to be driven at least in part by the omicron variant.
Massachusetts' seven-day average of positive tests ticked up from 22.39% Monday to 22.78% Tuesday. The metric was once above 30%, but had dropped under 0.5% until the delta variant began surging in the state.
The number of patients in Massachusetts hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 2,970, the most since May 12, 2020. The figure reached nearly 4,000 early in the pandemic, but dipped under an average of 85 at one point this July.
Of those currently hospitalized, 1,348 are fully vaccinated, 452 are in intensive care units and 270 are intubated.
Nearly 13.1 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts.
That includes, from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, shy of 5.6 million first shots, nearly 4.8 million second shots and under 2.4 million booster shots. There have been more than 336,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.
Health officials on Monday reported that a total of 5,129,214 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.