46,092 New Breakthrough COVID Cases in Mass., Reflecting Slowing Case Rate

NBC Universal, Inc.

Massachusetts health officials on Tuesday reported just over 46,000 new breakthrough COVID cases over the last week, a sign of slowing case rates, and 274 more deaths in people with breakthrough cases.

In the last week, 46,092 new breakthrough cases -- infections in people who have been vaccinated -- were reported, with 448 more vaccinated people hospitalized over the period, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials said Monday. It's a 46% decrease in the rate of new breakthrough cases in Massachusetts -- the previous week saw 86,450 new COVID infections in vaccinated people.

The new report brings the total number of breakthrough cases to 394,602 and the death toll among people with breakthrough infections to 1,499.

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

The equivalent of just 0.11% of vaccinated people have been hospitalized with COVID and 7.6% have had confirmed infections. An even smaller percentage has died: 0.03%. 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.

Top Boston doctors talk about next steps now that the omicron surge has peaked, the new omicron subvariant BA.2, variant-specific vaccines, natural immunity and masks in schools on NBC10 Boston’s weekly “COVID Q&A” series.

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.)

On Tuesday the state reported another 7,120 confirmed coronavirus cases and 145 new deaths, pushing the state's number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 1,449,781 since the start of the pandemic and its death toll to 21,107. The case numbers are significantly down from the peaking numbers earlier this month. State health officials reported a single-day record on Jan. 5, topping 27,000 cases, followed by the second-highest single-day total on Jan. 7, with more than 26,000 cases.

Test positivity came in at 11.40% Tuesday, down slightly from the day before.

Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, have been trending downward after spiking to heights not seen since previous surges, a peak thought to be driven at least in part by the omicron variant.

Experts have said that case count reporting may be a less accurate indicator during the omicron surge, given the difficulties in getting tested and widespread use of rapid tests that go unreported. Officials also warn that health care systems are still under great pressure from the influx of COVID-19 patients and related staffing shortages.

There were 2,688 hospitalizations reported Tuesday, with 399 patients in intensive care and 250 patients intubated.

The state has started releasing a new breakdown of virus hospitalizations, data that indicates whether COVID-19 is the primary cause of hospitalization, or incidental. This new information shows that while there were more than 3,000 patients in hospitals with COVID-19 last Thursday, just under 50% of those cases were for other causes.

Nearly 13.5 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts. That includes more than 5.6 million first doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, 4.8 million second shots, and over 338,000 Johnson & Johnson one-dose shots. Over 2.6 million booster shots have been administered.

Health officials on Thursday reported that a total of 5,183,285 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.

Contact Us