Massachusetts health officials on Tuesday reported more than 11,000 new breakthrough cases over the past week, and 61 more deaths.
In the last week, 11,321 new breakthrough cases -- infections in people who have been vaccinated -- were reported, with 273 more vaccinated people hospitalized, Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday. It's a 71% increase in the rate of new breakthrough cases in Massachusetts -- last week saw 6,610 new COVID infections in vaccinated people.
The new report brings the total number of breakthrough cases to 88,968, and the death toll among people with breakthrough infections to 647.
Both figures remain a tiny percentage of the total number of all people who have been vaccinated -- by contrast, more than 4.8 million Bay State residents have been fully vaccinated.
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The equivalent of just 0.05% of vaccinated people have been hospitalized and 1.8% have had confirmed infections. An even smaller percentage has died: 0.01%. The report also doesn't indicate how many of the breakthrough cases are in people with underlying conditions, though it also notes that "may be undercounted due to discrepancies" in records.
While vaccinated people are getting COVID-19, the virus' effects are severely blunted in them, and breakthrough cases rarely lead to hospitalizations or deaths. That's why public health officials worldwide continue to stress the importance of vaccination and booster shots. (If you still need to be vaccinated, here's a tool to find the closest vaccination provider to your home.)
Also Tuesday, another 3,720 confirmed coronavirus cases and 51 new deaths were reported, pushing the state's number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 885,548 since the start of the pandemic and its death toll to 19,151.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, dashboard, had been far lower than they were in spring, but have been rising lately. The discovery of omicron, a new COVID strain labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization over the Thanksgiving weekend, is being monitored in case it accelerates the recent surge statewide and across the U.S.
Massachusetts' seven-day average of positive tests rose from 4.53% on Monday to 4.86% on Tuesday. The metric was once above 30%, but had dropped under 0.5% until the delta variant began surging in the state.
The number of patients in Massachusetts hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 1,151, the most since Feb. 11, according to state data; the figure was once nearly 4,000, but reached under an average of 85 at one point in July.
Of those currently hospitalized, 407 are fully vaccinated, 239 are in intensive care units and 126 are intubated.
Nearly 11.7 million vaccine doses have now been administered in Massachusetts.
That includes, from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, over 5.4 million first shots, more than 4.6 million second shots and over 1.3 million booster shots. There have been more than 330,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.
Health officials on Tuesday reported that a total of 4,938,005 Massachusetts residents have been fully vaccinated.