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Mass. reports 5,545 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 74 new deaths

Drive-through testing last week in Randolph
Drive-through testing last week in RandolphCraig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Massachusetts public health officials on Thursday said more than 200 cities and towns, including Boston, are now at high risk for COVID-19 spread, as the virus continues to progress even as vaccination efforts continue.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts rose by 5,545 Thursday, while the seven-day average was 5,730.

The new cases brought the state’s total to 433,297.

The death toll from confirmed cases increased by 74 to 13,156, the Department of Public Health reported.

Since the fall, the state has seen an alarming resurgence of the often deadly virus in which case counts have soared to record heights. The levels of deaths are still below those seen in the devastating spring, though dozens are being reported daily.

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New data showed that 229 of the state’s 351 communities are considered high-risk for the virus. Boston had a daily average of 72.4 cases per 100,000 residents over the previous two weeks.

The new communities considered high-risk include Berlin, Brimfield, Brookfield, Dalton, Dover, Edgartown, Hatfield, Hopkinton, Marblehead, Medway, Millville, Montague, Northborough, Pittsfield, Sherborn, Somerville, and Sunderland.

Bolton, Melrose, Northbridge, Watertown, and Wayland dropped out of the high-risk category this week.

The state also reported that 52,239 residents received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine between Jan. 5 and 12, and 31,673 people received their second dose in that span.

The state has delivered a total of 239,174 first and second doses since it began last month, according to Thursday’s report.

Among those considered fully vaccinated, 38 percent are ages 50 to 69, 44 percent are ages 30 to 49, and about 16 percent are in their 20s. Less than 3 percent are 70 or older.

The DPH also said 91,396 people were estimated to have active cases of the potentially deadly virus, and 2,226 confirmed coronavirus patients were in the hospital.

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The agency also reported that 101,413 more tests had been conducted for coronavirus. The total number of tests administered climbed to more than 12.04 million. New antigen tests had been completed for 3,939 people, bringing that total to 415,649.

On Thursday, state education officials also reported 523 new coronavirus cases among students and 407 among school staff members for the week that ended Wednesday. Combined, a total of 4,225 cases among students and 3,179 among staff members have been reported to the state since Sept. 24.


The agency also reported that the seven-day average rate of positive tests, which is calculated from the total number of tests administered, was at 6.67 percent. The lowest observed figure for that metric — a number watched closely by state officials — is 0.8 percent.

The agency said the rate would be 7.9 percent if the effect of college testing programs — in which asymptomatic people can be tested repeatedly in an effort to rapidly identify new cases — is factored out.

To take a deeper dive into the state’s coronavirus statistics click here. To check out the state’s weekly vaccine statistics report, click here.

Peter Bailey-Wells of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.