BOSTON (SHNS) – The number of cities and towns the Department of Public Health considers to be at the highest risk for COVID-19 transmission was cut in half over the last week and now just 13 communities remain “in the red,” DPH reported Thursday.
There were 26 communities in DPH’s highest risk category last week and 48 communities deemed to be at the highest risk the week before. Now, only Brockton, Chicopee, Dracut, Edgartown, Haverhill, Lawrence, Littleton, Lowell, Nantucket, New Bedford, Rochester, Springfield and Taunton remain in that group.
DPH also confirmed 1,004 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the first day since Saturday that the daily count of new cases topped 1,000. Since the start of the pandemic, 650,859 people in Massachusetts have been confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus and another 43,910 people have been inflicted with probable cases of COVID-19.
The public health authorities announced five recent COVID-19 deaths Thursday, raising the death toll among people with test-confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 to 17,663 in a little less than 14 months.
The 1,004 new COVID-19 cases confirmed Thursday came from 105,102 tests — a single-day positivity rate of 0.96 percent. That helped drive the state’s seven-day average positive test rate down from 1.5 percent to 1.37 percent as of Thursday, DPH said. Hospitals saw a net reduction of 16 patients since DPH’s update on Wednesday and there were 469 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as of Thursday’s report.
Through Wednesday, 2,774,629 people in Massachusetts had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and about a million more people are halfway through their two-dose vaccine regimen.