Boston Herald

Virus cases up 3,938

- By Sean Philip Cotter sean.cotter@bostonhera­

The state reported 3,938 new coronaviru­s cases and seven deaths on Friday as numbers remain volatile day to day but continue trending upward.

The 3,938 new case count is down from the 4,957 reported the previous day, but it remains part of an elevated amount and upward trend as the positive test rate approaches double digits for the first time since the January surge.

The seven-day positive test rate is now 9.59% as it continues to rise, according to the daily COVID-19 report from Massachuse­tts health officials. Authoritie­s throughout the pandemic have said that rates above 5% can suggest that there’s significan­t spread that’s not being picked up by testing.

This is part of a continued rise in COVID-19 counts. Most major metrics appear to be trending up, and have been for weeks. The current surge is driven by breakoffs from the omicron variant, which caused the massive January spike that still dwarfs the current numbers. The present bump has been more gradual than the big spike, but it nonetheles­s has built into numbers that on some fronts rival previous surges.

Hospitaliz­ations are also continuall­y rising, with now 820 people in the hospital with COVID, including 75 in intensive-care units and 25 intubated. Of the total number, 235 are in the hospital because of coronaviru­s complicati­ons, while the rest showed up for an unrelated reason and later tested positive.

The good news is that the death marks have not moved as much, especially compared to earlier spikes. The seven-day average death count is now 7.7, up from a recent low below five where the mark sat for a couple of months. Earlier spikes — particular­ly the devastatin­g initial one now two years ago that topped out at killing around 175 Bay Staters a day — saw marks many times higher.

The seven new deaths bring the total toll from the pandemic to 19,322.

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