Massachusetts on Thursday reported another 1,556 confirmed coronavirus cases, and 48 new deaths.
This puts the state's COVID-19 cases at 1,536,565 since the start of the pandemic and its death toll to 22,626.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, show cases down significantly from peaking numbers at the beginning of last month, prompting many towns and cities to relax safety restrictions. In keeping with the trends, DPH has loosened recommendations for the use of face masks in indoor spaces for those who are fully vaccinated, and Gov. Charlie Baker announced the statewide school mask mandate would end on Feb. 28.
The 7-day average test positivity came in at 2.21% on Thursday, compared to 2.35% reported Wednesday.
There were 512 hospitalizations reported Friday, with 97 patients in intensive care and 63 patients intubated. As recently as Jan. 14 there were 3,300 patients in hospitals. The worst period in the pandemic for hospitalizations continues to be April 2020, when nearly 4,000 people with COVID were in Massachusetts hospitals.
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 data shows that from Jan. 13 to Feb. 7, roughly 50% of COVID-19 patients were primary cases. That percentage has been dropping - on Feb. 23, 42% of patients were primary COVID cases.
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More than 13.8 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts. That includes more than 5.7 million first doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, 4.9 million second shots, and over 341,000 Johnson & Johnson one-dose shots. Over 2.8 million booster shots have been administered.
Health officials on Thursday reported that a total of 5,280,882 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.