Massachusetts Nears One Million Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Since Pandemic Start

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, right, and Gov. Charlie Baker. (Sam Doran/SHNS.)

Another 12,983 people in Massachusetts were newly confirmed to have COVID-19 over the Christmas holiday weekend, the Department of Public Health reported Monday.

With a total of 993,038 confirmed COVID-19 cases identified since February 2020 and thousands of new cases reported daily over recent weeks, the state is on track to soon surpass a total of 1 million cumulative confirmed cases. It’s a milestone that will mean roughly one out of seven Massachusetts residents has tested positive at some point during the pandemic.

The DPH reports three days of COVID-19 data on Mondays—representing case counts from Friday, Saturday and Sunday—and the three-day total of 12,983 new confirmed cases comes after Friday marked a new single-day high with 10,040 infections, breaking records set earlier that week. Twenty-five newly reported deaths bring the number of people in Massachusetts who have died of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 19,629, with another 446 dead from probable cases. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 increased, rising from 1,597 on Christmas Eve to 1,636 as of Dec. 26. About 31% or 509 of those 1,636 patients were reported to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 when they contracted the virus, the DPH said.

As the health care system grapples with labor shortages and capacity constraints, members of the Massachusetts National Guard were slated to be deployed starting yesterday to help staff hospitals and ambulance service providers. Monday also marked the first day of a new Baker administration order requiring hospitals with less than 15% of their staffed medical-surgical and intensive care unit bed capacity available to postpone or cancel non-essential, non-urgent scheduled procedures likely to result in inpatient admission. Monday’s report showed 7,277 of 8,555 medical/surgical beds and 1,001 of 1,231 intensive care beds occupied across the state. Also on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others.

“The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after,” the CDC said. “Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for five days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for five days to minimize the risk of infecting others.”

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