Politics

Seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases now above 200

BOSTON (SHNS) – Confirmed COVID-19 infections in Massachusetts continue to increase after a stretch of record lows, with the latest case figures creeping back upward to their highest levels since late May even as deaths continue to decline.

Metrics of the virus’s impact on the Bay State remain far below earlier peaks, but cases are trending up amid significant spikes in other states driven by spread of the more infectious Delta variant. In the seven-day stretch from Tuesday, July 13 through Monday, July 19, the Department of Public Health counted 1,621 newly confirmed infections, according to data published Monday afternoon. That’s 290 more in a single week than the 1,231 recorded in the two-week period ending July 12. DPH’s estimated seven-day daily average of newly confirmed cases reached 200.7 on Sunday, more than three times as high as the record low of 63.9 on June 25. The last time that weekly average surpassed 200 was May 28, one day before the Baker administration replaced its mask mandate with an advisory and two and a half weeks before Gov. Charlie Baker lifted the state of emergency.

About 82 percent of the Massachusetts population ages 12 and older has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control data. Close to one in five eligible residents still have not gotten any immunization against the virus, and that group represents the bulk of new cases and serious infections. The seven-day average positive test rate stood at 1.02 percent, about where it hovered all weekend. The climb in confirmed infections so far has not translated to major impacts on hospitalizations or deaths.

After reaching a record low of 84.8 on July 9, the seven-day daily average of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 increased slightly to 105.8 on Sunday, well below record highs of more than 3,800 during the spring 2020 surge. Average deaths reported per day have been falling for months and stood close to the record low on Sunday. Baker last week attributed the recent increase in infections to Fourth of July gatherings. He urged residents to continue to exercise caution, seek out vaccines, and wear masks indoors when they are unsure whether others are vaccinated

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