Boston, Cape Cod Stay at Medium Risk for COVID in CDC Map Update

Six Massachusetts counties are now listed as medium risk, with the rest in the low risk category

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Most of eastern Massachusetts -- including Boston and Cape Cod -- remains at medium risk for COVID-19, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Barnstable, Dukes, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Plymouth counties remain in the medium risk category. The rest of the state is considered low risk. All of the state's counties remained at the same risk level they were in the previous week.

Over the past month, risk levels had been steadily declining across Massachusetts, before increasing suddenly a couple weeks ago. But the situation appears to have settled down a bit since then.

The news remains mostly positive across the rest of New England, with two states entirely in the low risk category.

Source: CDC

Massachusetts health officials reported 10,250 new COVID-19 cases and 42 new deaths in the last week, with the new data released Thursday. That's up significantly from 7,076 cases and 32 deaths the week before.

The state's seven-day average positivity was at 8.17% Thursday, compared to 7.87% last week.

Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, have been slightly increasing of late. Coronavirus levels in wastewater, as reported by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority's tracking system show numbers increasing in the Boston area. 

The most recent peak in cases was attributed to subvariants of omicron — first, it was the "stealth" omicron variant BA.2, and more recently the BA.2. 12.1 subvariant. Newer variants have since been identified in New England, including the BA.5 and BA.2.75. The BA.5 variant seems to be driving a new wave of infections, though it is too soon to determine what the result of that might be.

Experts have warned that this summer will be more challenging than last year, with a much higher level of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

COVID risk levels across New England

Most New England states saw their COVID risk levels remain about the same as they were a week ago in this week's CDC update.

Source: CDC

All of Maine remains in the low risk category, a dramatic decline from just three weeks ago.

New Hampshire now has one county -- northernmost Coos -- in the medium risk category for the second straight week, but the rest of the state remains low risk.

Vermont's Essex, Bennington and Rutland counties are medium risk, but the rest of the state is low risk.

All of Rhode Island remains at low risk for the third straight week.

In Connecticut, Litchfield, Middlesex and New Haven counties remain in the medium risk category, while Fairfield dropped from medium to low risk this week. The rest of the state is also considered low risk.

Residents in counties with high risk are urged to wear masks indoors in public and on public transportation, to stay up to date with vaccines and to get tested if they have symptoms, according to the CDC.

Residents in areas with medium risk are encouraged to wear a mask if they have symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19. Anyone at high risk for severe illness should also consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions, the CDC says.

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