Massachusetts health officials Thursday reported 3,485 new COVID-19 cases and 17 other deaths.
This comes as local doctors push to reintroduce mask requirements in certain locations as case numbers continue to rise.
In total, there have been 1,707,849 cases and 19,392 deaths since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The state reported 814 people hospitalized for COVID-19 at the time of data release Thursday, with 275 being primary cases. Of the total hospital admissions, 79 are in the ICU and 31 are intubated.
Massachusetts’ COVID metrics, which are tracked on the Department of Health’s interactive coronavirus dashboard, have been falling since the Omicron surge, but case counts have been on an upward trend for several weeks.
This recent increase is attributed to subvariants of omicron – first it was the “stealth” omicron variant BA.2 and more recently BA.2. 12.1 subvariant, which appears to be up to 27% more contagious than BA.2, according to health officials. However, there is no data to suggest that it causes more serious diseases.
The state’s average seven-day positivity was 8.32% on Thursday, compared to 8.33% on Wednesday.
For comparison, the numbers are still below the types of caseloads and hospitalizations recorded at the peak of the Omicron surge in January, when the average daily caseload reached over 28,000 and hospitalizations peaked at around 3,300.
Levels of COVID in sewage, as reported by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s tracking system, have also risen, but the most recent report shows levels have fallen somewhat.
It is important to note that virus concentrations observed in wastewater are nowhere near as high as they were during the peak of the omicron surge.
Top Boston doctors explain the latest cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts, how quickly reinfection can occur, mask guidance and immunity in NBC10 Boston’s weekly series “COVID Q&A.”
Experts have also said that reporting the case count during the Omicron surge has become a less accurate indicator given the difficulties in testing. Now, the widespread use of rapid tests means some results go unreported.
Nearly 14.8 million vaccine doses have been administered in Massachusetts to date.
Health officials reported Thursday that a total of 5,384,051 Massachusetts residents were fully vaccinated.