BOSTON (AP) — One hundred people who had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus died from the disease in Massachusetts by the end of July, according to the state Department of Public Health.
In about three-quarter of the breakthrough cases, the patients reported having underlying conditions, the department said. The median age of those who died was 82.5 years.
The deaths represent a tiny fraction — about 0.002 percent — of all fully vaccinated individuals in the state, according to state health officials.
“Breakthrough cases in Massachusetts are incredibly low, and those hospitalized or who have died are even lower,” department officials said in a written statement.
“All available data continue to support that all three vaccines used in the US are highly protective against severe disease and death from all known variants of COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get vaccinated,” the statement added.
The department also reported 395 breakthrough hospitalizations in the state.
The town of Belmont on Monday imposed a mask mandate for everyone 2 and older in all indoor spaces open to the public including bars, restaurants, barber shops, hair and nail salons, fitness centers and health care facilities, including congregate care settings.
The mandate requires businesses to post the mask requirement but leaves it up to workers to enforce the rule. Those who are unable to wear a mask because of a medical condition or disability are exempted from the new requirement.
There are other partial exemptions. Diners at restaurants can remove their masks when seated while those at bars or dance venues can only remove their masks when in the act of eating or drinking. Patrons must continue to wear masks on indoor dance floors.
The order also applies to houses of worship and public and private transportation systems — including taxis, ride-hailing companies, commuter rail trains and the MBTA. The mask mandate will remain in effect until Middlesex County, where Belmont is located, is rated as “low” or “moderate” for community transmission of the coronavirus for two consecutive weeks.
Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 12 Massachusetts counties — all but Hampshire County — with rising caseloads of COVID-19 sparked by the highly contagious Delta variant.
Gov. Charlie Baker has resisted re-imposing mask mandates, including in schools. Baker, a Republican, said that while the state is recommending masks for unvaccinated students and staff, the final decision should be left to local school districts.
VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS
The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by nearly 2,600 over the weekend while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by three.
The new numbers from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,730 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to more than 681,000. There were more than 310 people reported hospitalized Monday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 75 in intensive care units.
The average age of those who have died from COVID-19 was 74. The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick. Nearly 4.4 million people in Massachusetts have been fully immunized against COVID-19.