Most of eastern Massachusetts -- including Boston -- remains at medium risk for COVID-19 for the second straight week, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Barnstable, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Plymouth counties remain in the medium risk category, joined this week by Dukes County -- which includes Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard -- which dropped from high risk. The rest of the state is considered low risk.
Over the past month, risk levels had been steadily declining across Massachusetts, before increasing suddenly last week.
The news remains mostly positive across the rest of New England, however, with one state entirely in the low risk category.
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New omicron subvariant rising in Massachusetts
The rising risk level in Massachusetts comes as the highly-contagious BA.5 subvariant is becoming more prevalent in the state and cases have begin to climb once again. The subvariant now accounts for 60% of cases across the state.
Massachusetts health officials reported 7,076 new COVID-19 cases and 31 new deaths on Thursday, the first weekly update since the state announced changes to its reporting features last week. The state's seven-day average positivity was at 7.87% Thursday, the same as it was six days earlier when it was last posted.
Massachusetts' COVID metrics, tracked on the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, have been slightly increasing of late. Experts have warned that this summer will be more challenging than last year, with a much higher level of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.
COVID levels in Massachusetts wastewater have also been rising, with the South Shore experiencing a 29% jump and the North Shore a 28% increase over the past two weeks.
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.
All of Maine is now in the low risk category, a dramatic decline from just two weeks ago.
New Hampshire now has one county -- northernmost Coos -- in the medium risk category, 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 second straight week.
In Connecticut, Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex and New Haven counties remain in the medium risk category, but the rest of the state is 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.