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Massachusetts reports 9,646 new COVID cases: BA.5 variant is ‘concerning because it can cause reinfection’

by Rick Sobey - Boston He on August 5, 2022

Massachusetts reports 9,646 new COVID cases: BA.5 variant is ‘concerning because it can cause reinfection’

Rick Sobey, Boston Herald 

State health officials on Thursday reported 9,646 confirmed COVID cases from the last week, as the highly contagious BA.5 variant spreads across the region.

The daily average of 1,378 COVID cases is a bit down from the daily rate of 1,422 infections during the previous week.

The positive test average had been climbing in recent weeks as the omicron BA.5 subvariant takes over. The seven-day positive test rate is now 7.97%, a tick down from 8.09% a week ago.

The very infectious BA.5 variant is now responsible for 86.3% of new cases in New England, according to this week’s update from the CDC. That’s up from 81.4% of new cases last week.

“The recent uptick in infections and positivity rate driven by the BA.5 Omicron subvariant is concerning because it can cause reinfection in those who have been previously infected with COVID-19 and those who have not had a recent booster,” said Theodore Calianos, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, who urged people to get booster doses and to wear masks while gathering indoors among crowds.

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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is now reporting its COVID data on a weekly basis, reflecting the evolving COVID response in the state. Previously, the COVID-19 Interactive Data Dashboard had been published five days a week.

The state reported 41 new COVID deaths over the past week, bringing the state’s total to 21,224 recorded deaths since the start of the pandemic. The daily average of deaths is now seven, which is lower than the daily death rate during the initial omicron surge.

The state reported that 560 total patients are hospitalized with COVID, which is a decrease of 56 patients from last week.

There are now 57 patients in intensive care units, and 15 patients who are currently intubated.

More than 5.4 million people in the state have been fully vaccinated, and more than 3.1 million people have gotten at least one booster dose. Also, the state reported that 663,209 additional booster doses have been administered.

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