Massachusetts health officials on Tuesday reported more than 20,000 new breakthrough COVID cases over the past week and 70 more deaths.
In the last week, 20,247 new breakthrough cases -- infections in people who have been vaccinated -- were reported, with 353 more vaccinated people hospitalized, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday. It's a 45% increase in the rate of new breakthrough cases in Massachusetts -- last week saw 13,919 new COVID infections in vaccinated people -- but a decrease in the number of deaths among vaccinated people.
The new report brings the total number of breakthrough cases to 134,565, and the death toll among people with breakthrough infections to 854.
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 0.07% of vaccinated people have been hospitalized with COVID and 2.7% 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 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 9,228 confirmed coronavirus cases and 63 new deaths were reported, pushing the state's number of confirmed COVID-19 cases past 1 million to 1,002,266 since the start of the pandemic and its death toll to 19,692.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, dashboard, have been spiking to heights not seen since last winter's surge, thought to be driven in part by the omicron variant.
Massachusetts' seven-day average of positive tests rose from 9.49% Monday to 11.08%, the highest it's been since May 19, 2020. 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 1,707, the most since Jan. 29. The figure was once nearly 4,000, but reached under an average of 85 at one point in July.
Of those currently hospitalized, 528 are fully vaccinated, 381 are in intensive care units and 250 are intubated.
More than 12.6 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts.
That includes, from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, over 5.5 million first shots, more than 4.7 million second shots and above 2 million booster shots. There have been more than 334,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.
Health officials on Tuesday reported that a total of 5,071,253 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.