SPRINGFIELD (WWLP/State House News Service) – For the second day in a row, more than 5,400 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were recorded in Massachusetts on Thursday.
Thursday’s 5,472 new cases reported by the Department of Public Health were slightly more than the 5,403 logged on Wednesday. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 also ticked up, rising from 1,204 in Wednesday’s report to 1,239 on Thursday. Of those, the DPH said 418 were reported to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when they contracted the virus.
That’s a trend Baystate’s Chief Infectious Disease expert Doctor Armando Paez said the hospital has seen for months.
“People who have other serious illnesses from heart disease, lung disease and just extreme age can really put them at risk of being hospitalized,” he told 22News.
Paez said this new data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is not a sign that the vaccine is losing its steam.
Largely patients who are being admitted to Baystate for Covid-19 are already in that high risk category, with the average age being 60 years old.
He said while getting the initial vaccine is important for preventing serious illness or death, getting the booster shot can help ward against it spreading to people who are at higher risk.
“To prevent mild infections you also need to prevent mild transmission of this infection with other people,” Doctor Paez said. “Getting that boosted immunity is really important in order to once and for all to prevent this infection to take hold.”
The department’s report showed 93 percent of the state’s 9,102 medical surgical beds and 87 percent of the 1,254 intensive care beds occupied. Earlier Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker, whose administration has put an order in place requiring hospitals to scale back certain scheduled procedures if they do not have at least 15 percent capacity, said that if there is a way to bring the National Guard in to support the health care system as some other states have done, “we’ll certainly pursue that and try and put it in place.”
The state’s seven-day average test positivity rate stands at 5.01 percent, up from 2.18 percent a month ago. Massachusetts K-12 schools are also reporting elevated COVID-19 case counts. For the week of Dec. 2-8, districts, education collaboratives and special education schools reported a total of 6,879 new student COVID-19 cases to the state and 1,105 new staff cases.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education publishes a case update each Thursday, and last week’s report — which tallied 8,513 student cases and 1,396 among staff — included two weeks of data because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
This Thursday’s numbers are roughly double those in the last report to include a single week of numbers — during the week of Nov. 11-17, DESE’s tally showed 3,257 new cases reported among students and 558 in staff.