Gov. Charlie Baker urged young people in Massachusetts Tuesday to "stop hosting big parties" amid a spike in coronavirus cases among people under the age of 30.
Baker said people under 30 now account for 37% of the new cases in the state, compared to just 18% for people over 60. That's almost completely flipped from April, when those over 60 accounted for 42% of the cases and those under 30 accounted for 15%.
"It's a very different demographic from what we saw last spring," he said, "and it speaks to this whole issue of young people and social gatherings and so many issues associated with the fact that young people typically don't get as sick as older people do, and that makes them in many cases much less aware of the fact that they have the virus and that they can give it to others."
Baker said there is some good news in the latest numbers, in that those who are contracting the virus are less likely to experience serious complications. And those who are most vulnerable are seeing a decrease in cases due to the measures put in place by the state in the spring and summer.
But he said communities continue to say that social gatherings among younger people are contributing to the spread of COVID.
"What's most concerning about this data is the spike in cases under 30. About 300 people a day under 30 have tested positive, with about 38,000 diagnosed since March," Baker said. "Our young people need to be serious about dealing with COVID. We get the fact that for many young people they have mild symptoms or in some cases no symptoms at all, but their contact, indoors over an extended period of time -- like watching a football game with older people or people with medical conditions -- can create terrible circumstances for many of our most vulnerable."
The state confirmed 17 new deaths and 1,216 more coronavirus cases Monday, marking the third straight day the state has announced more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases.
There have now been 9,657 confirmed deaths and 148,336 cases, with the state on track to surpass 150,000 cases this week. The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, has risen to 1.6%, up from its low point of 0.8% just over a month ago.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased to 550. Of that number, 105 were listed as being in intensive care units and 43 are intubated, health officials said.
Amid the spike in positive cases across the state, 13 communities have reverted back to Step 1 of Phase 3 of Massachusetts' reopening plan after being designated as high-risk for three weeks now.
That means businesses like roller skating rinks, trampoline parks, escape rooms and indoor theaters and performance venues have to remain closed in these communities during this time.