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Mass. on ‘back side’ of Omicron surge, Baker says

As COVID-19 levels fell in Eastern Massachusetts sewage and the week average of confirmed reported cases were announced Wednesday as down from Jan. 11's peak, Governor Charlie Baker said the worst of the Omicron surge in Massachusetts is over.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday that the state has experienced the worst of the Omicron-fueled COVID-19 surge that has strained hospitals in recent weeks.

“We are definitely on what I would call the back side of the Omicron surge,” Baker said during his regular appearance on GBH Radio. “That’s clear looking at both the daily case counts and the wastewater that we track pretty religiously and have for the better part now of almost two years. The hospitalization rates are also coming down. And we are now basically doing what I think is a pretty useful review of hospitalizations with our colleagues in the hospital community.”


Baker said the review is designed to “separate out folks who are in the hospital because they have appendicitis or they broke a leg or something else, but they test positive for COVID, from the ones who are there because they actually have COVID and need hospitalization because of their COVID circumstance.”

More than 90 percent of eligible Massachusetts residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 80 percent are fully vaccinated, Baker said.

“Which is one of the highest rates in the country, if not the highest depending upon how you do it, how you do the math,” Baker said.

People are considered fully vaccinated once they have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single shot Johnson & Johnson version. Boosters are recommended months after reaching full vaccination status.

“The vaccines, based on all the data that’s out there, have been enormously effective at preventing serious illness and hospitalization and death,” Baker said.

Roughly 20,000 to 40,000 people in Massachusetts are getting vaccinated each day, he said.

“Some of those are boosters, a lot of those are second shots and first shots,” Baker said. “And we continue to work with our colleagues in many community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and some of the communities where our vaccination rates are low. That is our biggest challenge at this point, which is enhancing our vaccination rate in communities where there’s still a fair amount of hesitancy to getting vaccinated in the first place.”


The seven-day average of reported confirmed COVID-19 cases was 9,696 on Wednesday, down by more than half from a peak of 22,451 on Jan. 11. Hospitalizations have also declined from their recent peak.

Coronavirus levels also continued to fall in sewage from dozens of Eastern Massachusetts communities that is tested at the Deer Island wastewater treatment plant in Boston Harbor. The levels are considered an early indicator of future case trends.

Martin Finucane and Ryan Huddle of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.