Only three of Massachusetts' 14 counties are now considered high risk for COVID-19, down from four last week and 12 two weeks ago, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The latest data released Thursday shows Middlesex and Norfolk counties remain high risk, Bristol and Essex counties are low risk, and the rest of the state is in the medium risk category.
Across all of the rest of New England, only one other county is considered high risk.
That's a dramatic decrease in risk level in recent weeks, reflective of some of the other recent trends in case totals, school cases and test positivity rate that show the state may finally be emerging from the spring COVID surge.
State health officials reported 1,989 new COVID-19 cases and 17 more deaths on Thursday. The state's seven-day average positivity was at 6.38% Thursday, compared to 6.62% on Wednesday. Both metrics were dramatically lower than a week ago.
And after increasing for months, the number of new cases in Massachusetts schools declined for the third straight week. The total of 5,534 cases was a decrease of about 31.2% from last Thursday's report, when a total of 8,047 cases were identified.
What about the rest of New England?
The story across the rest of New England is even more positive, with only Bennington County in Vermont high risk. Orleans and Rutland counties are medium risk, with the rest of the state in the low risk category.
In New Hampshire, Carroll, Cheshire and Grafton counties are listed as medium risk, while the rest of the state is low risk.
Maine, which had four high risk counties a week ago, now has none. Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties are listed as medium risk, with the rest of the state in the low risk category.
Most of Connecticut remains in the medium risk category, with only Fairfield and New London counties listed as low risk.
The entire state of Rhode Island remains in the medium risk category for the second straight week.
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.