Massachusetts health officials reported 3,199 new COVID-19 cases Friday and seven new deaths, as cases and hospitalizations continue to tick up.
In total, there have been 1,614,807 cases and 19,119 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, have declined since the omicron surge, but case counts are starting to increase once again.
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The state reported 459 people hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Thursday's data release, with 142 of them, or 31%, being primary cases. Of the total hospitalizations, 37 are in intensive care and 15 are intubated.
The state's seven-day average positivity rate increased to 5.37% Friday, compared to 5.04% Thursday.
COVID levels in wastewater, as reported by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's tracking system were slightly down at the start of the week in the Boston area, though it wasn't enough to convince top Boston doctors that we were clear from the spring surge. On Thursday, data samplings were showing those levels starting to tick up again, so the trend has not been consistent.
It's important to note that the levels of virus seen in the wastewater remain nowhere near where they were during the peak of the omicron surge.
Experts have said that case count reporting may have become a less accurate indicator during the omicron surge, given the difficulties in getting tested and widespread use of rapid tests where results go unreported.
The majority of cases in New England right now are being attributed to the "stealth" omicron variant BA.2. Increases in cases abroad are raising concerns that the U.S. could soon experience another COVID-19 wave. However, medical officials have said they don't expect that the rise of BA.2 will result in as dramatic of a spike in cases as we saw in the omicron surge late last year into early 2022, though they warn that we should expect to see a "bump," which we are now in.
More than 14.4 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts.
Health officials on Thursday reported that a total of 5,358,724 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.
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