BOSTON — Health officials announced 1,431 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts on Thursday and 17 new confirmed deaths, as the number of active infections statewide and other key health metrics dipped since last week.
Also dropping is the number of towns and cities on the state Department of Public Health’s weekly high-risk list, decreasing from 61 communities considered at high-risk for coronavirus transmission last week, down to 48 towns and cities on Thursday. Greater Lowell communities removed from the list based on Thursdays data include Chelmsford, Tyngsboro and Littleton, while Townsend was added.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported by the state Department of Public Health on Thursday brings the total to 636,476 cases since January 2020. The figures show there have also been 17,168 confirmed deaths from the virus statewide since the pandemic began. Another 347 deaths are classified by health officials as most likely linked to the virus.
On Thursday, the DPH announced there were 645 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, including 158 patients in intensive care units statewide and 96 patients who were intubated.
There were an estimated 31,215 active COVID-19 cases statewide as of Thursday, a decrease from last Thursday, when the total was 35,478.
Thursday’s data shows a statewide decreasing trend in three of the four key health metrics compared to last week, including the seven-day average of those hospitalized with the virus. Last week, the metric’s total was 707.9, but dipped to 693.4 on Thursday.
The seven-day weighted percent positivity rate has ticked downward over the past week, reaching 2% on Thursday, down from 2.30% reported by health officials last week. The most significant decreasing trend over past few weeks was the seven-day average of COVID-19 confirmed cases, which was 1043.3 on Thursday. That’s a decrease from 1,394.9 reported last Thursday, and 1,844 reported by the DPH on April 8.
The COVID-19 health metric that displayed an increase was the seven-day average of confirmed deaths which rose from 8.1 last week to 8.6 on Thursday. Thursday’s figure remains lower than the April 8 total of 12.6. According to the DPH data, the last time the the seven-day average of confirmed deaths was below 8 was on March 27, 2020, when the total was 7.4.
Another encouraging trend is the continued decrease in the total number of cities and towns classified as at “high risk” for coronavirus transmission, which dropped for the second week in a row.
To qualify as high risk for coronavirus transmission, the DPH states communities with populations under 10,000 must have more than 25 cases of the virus. For communities between 10,000 and 50,000 people, they must have an average of at least 10 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of at least 5%. For communities with a population exceeding 50,000, they must have at least 10 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of at least 4%. Each category is based on the previous 14 days of data.
In mid-February, the total number of communities classified as high risk statewide was 153. The number of cities and towns on the list then dropped to just 14 on March 4, according to DPH data. From there, the number of communities classified as high risk proceeded to increase each week, reaching 76 communities as of the data released April 8. However, last week, the total number of towns and cities classified at high risk dropped to 61. This week, the total number of communities at high risk again dropped, reaching 48 on Thursday.
Chelmsford, Tyngsboro and Littleton were removed from the high-risk list, according to Thursday’s data, joining Billerica, which was removed last Thursday. Townsend joins the list, which remains occupied by Lowell, Dracut and Ayer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 62,827 new cases of COVID-19 nationwide on Thursday, bringing the total to approximately 31,666,546 cases since the pandemic began. The CDC also announced the virus’ nationwide death toll was 566,494 as of Thursday, an increase of approximately 5,138 deaths since last Thursday.
According to the CDC, there have been 218,947,643 vaccines administered nationwide as of Thursday. About 40.9% of the population has received a first dose, while 26.9% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Below is the total COVID-19 infections by city and town from Jan. 1, 2020, through Tuesday and how that total compares to last week’s numbers:
- Acton – 911 (+22)
- Ayer – 836 (+10)
- Bedford – 857 (+32)
- Billerica – 3,737 (+65)
- Burlington – 1,957 (+41)
- Chelmsford – 2,862 (+62)
- Dracut – 3,652 (+94)
- Dunstable – 172 (+3)
- Groton – 514 (+15)
- Littleton – 563 (+12)
- Lowell – 16,872 (+305)
- Pepperell – 508 (+10)
- Shirley – 810 (+2)
- Tewksbury – 3,196 (+37)
- Townsend – 443 (+17)
- Tyngsboro – 1,103 (+19)
- Westford – 1,283 (+22)
- Wilmington – 2,149 (+34)
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis