The number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts schools has effectively nearly doubled week over week, with nearly 8,000 students and staff testing positive in the past week.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the numbers Thursday in its weekly COVID-19 report, which shows a total of 6,879 students and 1,105 employees tested positive for the virus between Dec. 2. and Dec. 8.
In the previous report, which encompassed two weeks worth of data due to the Thanksgiving holiday, 8,513 students and 1,396 employees tested positive for COVID. That report covering Nov. 18 and Dec. 1 was also an increase from the one prior.
The latest report shows student cases represent 0.75% of the estimated 920,000 students enrolled in K-12 schools. DESE said 0.79% of the roughly 140,000 staff members tested positive in the last week.
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The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported by the DESE takes into account school districts (including charter schools), collaboratives, and approved special education schools. The data only represents what has been reported to the state.
The state had stopped publicly reporting the school data in mid-June as school was winding down and cases were dropping. The June 16 report included only 53 new cases in students and 5 among school staff.
COVID cases are also surging across the state right now. Massachusetts health officials reported another 5,472 confirmed cases Thursday -- the most in one day since mid-January.
The previous single-day high for newly confirmed COVID cases was on Jan. 16, as last winter's surge was receding, state data shows. Thursday's total is the second straight day above 5,400.