coronavirus

Mass. Reports 6,725 New COVID Cases; Average Positivity Rate Under 5%

There were 1,482 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported Monday, with 253 patients in intensive care and 148 patients intubated

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Massachusetts on Monday reported another 6,725 confirmed coronavirus cases and 56 new deaths, with the seven-day average test positivity hitting below 5% for the first time since early December.

This puts the state's COVID-19 cases at 1,508,973 since the start of the pandemic and its death toll to 21,811.

Case numbers have dropped significantly from peaking numbers at the beginning of last 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.

Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, continue to trend downward and stabilize after spiking to heights experts attributed at least in part by the omicron variant.

The 7-day average test positivity came in at 4.78% Monday, down from the 5.63% reported on Friday. The last time the state reported an average test positivity rate below 5% was on December 5.

There were 1,482 hospitalizations reported Monday, with 253 patients in intensive care and 148 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. 3, roughly 50% of COVID-19 patients were primary cases. See the chart below for specifics.

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 that often go unreported. Officials also warn that hospitalizations, which may be a better metric to measure by, often lag behind case counts, which means even if COVID-19 cases are dropping, health care systems could still be stressed by patient influx and staffing shortages. Still, the state has seen a slow decline in hospitalizations for several weeks.

More than 13.7 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts as of Monday. That includes more than 5.7 million first doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, 4.8 million second shots, and over 339,000 Johnson & Johnson one-dose shots. Over 2.7 million booster shots have been administered.

Health officials on Monday reported that a total of 5,229,055 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.

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