Massachusetts health officials reported 4,376 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, more than 1,000 more than the daily total of 2,985 on Wednesday, and 13 new deaths. This comes as health officials continue to monitor the increased case and hospitalization counts.
In total, there have been 1,634,308 cases and 19,181 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
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The state reported 547 people hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Wednesday's data release, with 201 of them being primary cases. Of the total hospitalizations, 45 are in intensive care and 18 are intubated.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, have declined since the omicron surge, but case counts have been on an upward trajectory in recent weeks. For context, this is nowhere near the numbers seen at the height of the omicron surge in January, when average daily case counts reached over 28,000 and hospitalizations peaked at around 3,300.
The state's seven-day average positivity rate increased to 6.17% Thursday, compared to 5.79% on Wednesday.
COVID levels in wastewater, as reported by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's tracking system were slightly down at the start of last week in the Boston area, though it wasn't enough to convince top Boston doctors that we were clear from the spring surge. As of samples through Wednesday, those levels were on the rise again.
It's important to note that the levels of virus seen in the wastewater remain 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," which it appears we are now in.
More than 14.5 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts.
Health officials on Thursday reported that a total of 5,364,131 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.