13,919 New Breakthrough Cases in Mass., 85 More Deaths in Vaccinated People

Meanwhile, Massachusetts' positive test rate average rose to 6.45% and number of COVID patients in hospitals rose to 1,612, both highs since last winter

Massachusetts Coronavirus
NBC10 Boston

Massachusetts health officials on Tuesday reported nearly 14,000 new breakthrough cases over the past week and 85 more deaths.

In the last week, 13,919 new breakthrough cases -- infections in people who have been vaccinated -- were reported, with 220 more vaccinated people hospitalized, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday. It's an increase in the rate of new breakthrough cases in Massachusetts -- last week saw 11,431 new COVID infections in vaccinated people.



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The new report brings the total number of breakthrough cases to 114,318, and the death toll among people with breakthrough infections to 784.

Both figures remain a tiny percentage of the total number of all people who have been vaccinated.

The equivalent of just 0.06% of vaccinated people have been hospitalized with COVID and 2.3% 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.

As a new study of Massachusetts COVID breakthrough cases finds they rarely cause severe illness, Dr. Sabrina Assoumou of the Boston Medical Center answers questions about how to stay safe this holiday season.

While vaccinated people are getting COVID-19, the virus' effects are severely blunted in them, and breakthrough cases rarely lead to hospitalizations or deaths. This week, 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 5,531 confirmed coronavirus cases and 58 new deaths were reported, pushing the state's number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 953,156 since the start of the pandemic and its death toll to 19,492.

Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, dashboard, had been far lower than they were in spring, but have been rising lately. The discovery of omicron, a new COVID strain labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization over the Thanksgiving weekend, is being monitored in case it accelerates the recent surge statewide and across the U.S.

Massachusetts' seven-day average of positive tests rose from 5.91% Monday to 6.45% Tuesday, the highest it's been since Jan. 14, as the winter surge was receding. 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 by nearly 100 to 1,612, the most since Feb. 3. The figure was once nearly 4,000, but reached under an average of 85 at one point in July.

Of those currently hospitalized, 467 are fully vaccinated, 368 are in intensive care units and 203 are intubated.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is implementing proof of vaccination protocols. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is activating the National Guard, issuing an indoor mask advisory and ordering all hospitals to postpone nonessential elective procedures. President Joe Biden is mailing out free at-home testing kits to Americans. And the omicron variant is now the dominant strain in Massachusetts. Top Boston doctors unpack the latest developments on NBC10 Boston’s weekly “COVID Q&A” series.

Nearly 12.4 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts.

That includes, from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, nearly 5.5 million first shots, more than 4.7 million second shots and shy of 1.9 million booster shots. There have been more than 335,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.

Health officials on Tuesday reported that a total of 5,047,850 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.

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