In another promising sign of the retreat of COVID-19, Tufts Medical Center said Tuesday it had reached the point where zero inpatients are positive for the disease. The number hasn’t been that low since the pandemic began ravaging the state more than three years ago.
Dr. Shira Doron, chief infection control officer for the Tufts Medicine health system, said that since the beginning of the pandemic, she’s gotten an e-mail with COVID-19 patient counts every morning and the numbers had been heading toward zero recently.
“Every day there has been a little part of me that says one day maybe we will see zero and I couldn’t really predict when that would be,” she said Tuesday. “And today was the day.”
“It’s really a milestone,” she said. But she cautioned, “COVID is not going away. There will be peaks and valleys, rises and falls of those case numbers,” and the number could rise above zero again.
The hospital said there had been three peaks of inpatients with COVID-19. The number reached 88 on April 21, 2020; 57 on Jan. 18, 2021; and 75 on Jan. 14, 2022.
“I’ve heard lately about people kind of trying to rewrite history and say, were hospitals really that overwhelmed? The answer is yes,” she said. “There were more patients than we could ever imagine that were critically ill.”
“We came from somewhere really dark in 2020 to come to this point today,” she said.
Other Boston hospitals are also seeing very low numbers of patients infected with COVID-19. Boston Medical Center tallied zero patients with COVID-19 Thursday, spokesman David Kibbe said. He did not have an updated number for Tuesday.
COVID-19 data published by Department of Public Health indicates the pandemic that once paralyzed the state is on the wane.
“COVID cases have declined dramatically in Massachusetts, dropping to their lowest point in a year – though not as low as summer 2021 – thanks to the Commonwealth’s high rates of vaccination and high uptake of therapeutics that keep people out of the hospital,” the DPH said in a statement.
“COVID hospitalizations are also in a steep decline, with 56 patients hospitalized for COVID statewide and 17 in the ICU statewide,” the statement said.
The seven-day average of confirmed daily COVID-19 deaths dropped to 0.9 on April 22, the lowest since the pandemic began. It was a far cry from the peak in April 2020, when more than 175 people a day were dying from the disease, according to state data.
The DPH said it was urging residents to get their bivalent boosters, if they are eligible, and, if they test positive for COVID-19, to seek out available treatments.
Wastewater surveillance testing by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority also shows that the amount of the virus detected in the wastewater in Eastern Massachusetts has dropped to low levels.
Boston health officials said Monday they were scaling back testing and vaccination site operations, noting falling COVID-19 data. “The sustained decline in our COVID-19 metrics is a testament to the protection afforded by the vaccines and boosters,” Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said in a statement.
Ryan Huddle of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
Martin Finucane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.