The omicron-driven surge in COVID-19 activity that disrupted another holiday season and much of last month peaked around the second week of January and cases have since fallen by more than 85 percent, Dr. Larry Madoff, the medical director for the Department of Public Health Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences, told municipal officials Tuesday.
The improvements are obvious in the new case data, which on a seven-day average basis has fallen from 23,170 new cases each day as of Jan. 8 to an average of 2,738 new cases a day as of Sunday. Madoff said Tuesday’s report would add fewer than 1,800 new cases, which will help further drive down the average.
Hospitalization and death data also make the improvement over the last month more clear, Madoff said, with Tuesday’s report to show about 1,300 people hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to 2,887 COVID-19 patients one month ago. Deaths, which lag case and hospitalization data, have increased on average over the last month, but are again on a downward trajectory.
“So these numbers are good. Our wastewater numbers, something that we closely monitor, is also showing this rapid downward trend,” Madoff told the Local Government Advisory Committee on Tuesday. Massachusetts continues to administer more than 15,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines each day and nearly 6 million of the state’s roughly 7 million residents have gotten at least one vaccine shot, Madoff said. Among the newly-eligible five- to 12-year-old cohort, Madoff said about 55 percent have at least started their COVID-19 vaccine regimen.
Bekah Diamond, chief of staff at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, told the LGAC on Tuesday that more than 125 entities from the state’s 351 cities and towns have taken advantage of a state contract the Baker administration negotiated to allow municipalities and other public entities to buy at-home rapid test kits in bulk at pre-negotiated prices.