Half of the mass. Red for COVID prevalence, says CDC


“The risk of exposure is very high.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a “high” level of COVID for half of Massachusetts this week as the number of illnesses and hospitalizations increased.

The counties of Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk, Worcester, Franklin and Berkshire are shown in red or at the “high” level of the community, with an updated CDC map on Thursday. Of the other seven counties in the state, only Bristol County has a community level of “low,” and the rest is “medium.”

Jonathan Levy, chairman of the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University, this week crossed the CDC threshold for hospitalization in Massachusetts, pushing the agency to raise the county-wide level.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase in work,” Levi told Boston.com. “Hospitalization is on the rise, and sewage data is rising again after a slight decline, but in some places it is shaking. So, of course, we are not looking down. ”

The community level aims to help prevent stress in the health care system by providing contextualized virus risk to help communities and individuals make decisions.

The CDC combines three indicators to determine the level: new COVID hospital admissions per 100,000 population in the last 7 days; Percentage of regular inpatient beds occupied by patients with COVID; and new cases per 100,000 population in the last week, according to the agency.

“We’re seeing a noticeable but somewhat calm wave in Massachusetts right now, so the risk of being affected is very high,” Levy said.

According to the CDC, the level of the COVID community. – CDC

In fact, the presence of COVID RNA in sewage from the Boston area and surrounding areas by the Massachusetts Department of Water Resources is on the rise again.

Although the level of the virus in sewage, which helped predict the rise of the pandemic, is not as high as it was in the winter, it appears to have risen in April after rising and falling.

On Thursday, the State Department of Health reported 4,376 new cases of COVID, the highest number recorded in a single day since February. 3.

According to the Boston Public Health Commission, the average seven-day positive for the Boston COVID test was 9.6 percent, well above the city’s 5 percent threshold.

The number of positive tests measured on the seven-day average also exceeded the threshold of 401.6 339.7 cases per day. Hospitalizations were below the city limits, accounting for 88 percent of ICU beds.

BPHC on Friday, according to CDC guidelines for areas with a “high” community level advised Residents must wear masks, be tested for COVID-19 and vaccinated in closed public spaces.

According to the CDC, people living in “high” areas should wear a “preferred” mask in public places, regardless of vaccination status. The agency also encourages people to “provide improved indoor ventilation as much as possible.”

People with weakened immune systems or at high risk of serious illness should wear a mask or respirator that offers stronger protection and should consider avoiding insignificant internal activities, among other indications, the CDC said.

At a larger, community level, the CDC is also proposing “specific” guidelines to help cities and towns prevent the spread of the virus, as one of the few steps officials can take.

“N95 masks work great and reduce your exposure,” Levy said. “However, if you are in a poorly ventilated home and people around you are not wearing masks, this may not be enough to fully protect you, and of course there are people like children who cannot wear N95 masks. the day. So, you know, we still … we need to think about everyone in our society and who can assess personal risks and who can and cannot act accordingly.

Although the BA.2 omicron variant has long been suspected as the driving factor behind new cases, the corresponding variant called BA.2.12.1 is more contagious than its fast-moving relative. Studies show that both options are available in New England.

With the prevalence and availability of COVID testing at home, Levi said many new cases could emerge from official data reports. He said Massachusetts has “about three and a half times the total number of cases reported” by officials.

Levi is particularly interested in how the latest trends affect people who are seriously ill.

“Of course, a lot of people make their own personal decisions and aren’t ready to take them into account when it comes to high performance,” Levy said. “I think we need to keep an eye on those who don’t have that choice or don’t have the same type of protection.”

Levi noted that there are many people who do not receive vaccine-enhancing injections, despite being able to take additional doses.

“There is a good faction among those over 75 who have not yet received their first sponsor,” he said. “The fact that the population has grown the most in recent weeks to more than 80 is a little worrying.”

Levi said it was important to strengthen the CDC’s recommendations.

Public health and elected officials need to decide on the next thing, he said.

“It’s a difficult time,” Levi said. “People are tired of mandates, but assuming that everyone has the data and information and has the ability to make complex individual assessments and that there are no restrictions on their day-to-day operations is naivety and in fact cannot protect people who are not. It has all the layers of protection. ”

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