Health officials in Massachusetts reported another 2,160 cases of COVID-19 and 32 new deaths on Friday, with some experts saying a fourth wave of the pandemic may already have arrived.
The update puts the total of confirmed cases at 602,792 and the death toll at 16,908, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Another 341 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.
The seven-day average positive ticked up from 2.49% in Thursday's data to 2.55 on Friday. That figure had been below 2% as recently as March 16.
The number of patients in Massachusetts hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 cases increased again. Of the 700 people hospitalized, 160 were listed as being in intensive care units and 90 were intubated, according to health officials.
Health officials' projection of active COVID-19 cases continues to rise, jumping from 32,868 on Thursday to 33,424 on Friday.
Many of the state's coronavirus metrics had been trending downward after a peak at the very start of the year, before leveling off and then rising in recent weeks, according to the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard.
More on COVID in Mass.
According to Friday's vaccine report, 1,409,402 Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated against the virus. More than 3.7 million total doses have been administered in the state, including 2,325,040 first dose shots of either Pfizer of Moderna.
More than 93,000 Bay State residents have received Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine.
Despite a growing number of Massachusetts residents getting vaccinated for the coronavirus, case of COVID-19 in the Bay State continue to rise.
The number of Massachusetts communities at the highest risk of coronavirus transmission has nearly doubled after rising the last two weeks. The town-by-town coronavirus data released Thursday showed 55 communities in the high-risk red zone, up from 32 last week and 20 the week before.
According to the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, Bay State residents under the age of 40 make up 62% of COVID cases confirmed in the past two weeks. A year ago, it was about 27%.
In the last 14 days, the majority of cases -- 6,959 -- have been in those under the age of 19. The 20-29 age group is not far behind with 6,155 cases, followed by people ages 30-39 with 4,318 cases.
"We are seeing an increased number of tests from school population as the schools are reopening," said Dr. Cassandra Pierre, of Boston Medical Center. "Previously we weren't as aggressively testing that population so with more tests, we're going to see more positive numbers."
Massachusetts schools this week reported 1,045 new COVID-19 cases among students and staff, marking the highest ever weekly tally of cases.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report. A total of 801 students and 244 employees with district building access within seven days of the report tested positive between March 25 and March 31.
The case report marks an increase of 135 total cases from the previous week. The last report said 682 students and 228 district staff tested
As cases rise in the young, they're falling in the elderly. Only 725 residents ages 70-79 and only 300 residents age 80+ tested positive for COVID during the same two-week period from March 14 through March 27.
Officials including Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Kim Janey are urging the public to stay vigilant, get vaccinated when eligible and continue to wear masks and practice social distancing in a bid to prevent another major surge.