QUINCY – Local and statewide COVID-19 cases have fallen for the second straight week, reports issued Thursday by the state Department of Public Health showed.
The number of people in the hospital with the virus held steady from the previous week, the agency said.
Case counts increased in six of the 23 South Shore communities surveyed, the state reported in its weekly breakdown of cases by municipality.
The reports were released the same day the federal Centers for Disease Control recommended new guidelines for preventing illness from COVID-19, since many people have immunity from vaccinations or prior infection. The guidelines eliminate recommendations for social distancing as a means of prevention and isolation if exposed to someone who has contracted the virus. The agency shifts the emphasis towards preventing serious disease, rather than preventing infection.
The CDC reports more than 92.4 million cases of COVID-19 over the 2½ years of the pandemic, with 1,030,000 deaths.
On the South Shore, there were 1,362 cases during the two weeks ending August 6. That is a decrease of 4.7% from the two week period ending July 30, when there were 1,429 cases.
The statewide rate dropped from 19.9 to 18.8 cases per day per 100,000 people averaged over the two weeks tending July 30.
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Only lab-confirmed cases are included in the state health department report, not ones found with home test kits.
Six local communities had rates higher than the statewide average of 18.8 cases per day per 100,000 people. They are Randolph, with a rate of 24.9, Rockland with a rate of 24.5, Plymouth with a rate of 20, Holbrook with a rate of 19.4, Hanover with a rate of 19.3, and Whitman with a rate of 18.9.
The town with the lowest rate is Halifax, with a rate of 10.1
In Thursday's weekly report, the state health department said there were 8,950 COVID-19 cases over the seven days ending Wednesday, bringing the state's total for the pandemic to 1,821,987.
There were 560 people in the hospital with COVID-19, the same number as last week. The number of patients hospitalized primarily for COVID-19 was also the same as last week, 144. There were 57 patients in intensive care units with COVID-19, same as a week ago, and 12 on breathing equipment, down three from the week before.
The state reported 39 new COVID-19 deaths over the past week, down two from the prior week, bringing the total for the pandemic to 19,978.
The following is a list of the number of cases by community for the two weeks ending Aug. 6, the average daily rate of cases per 100,000 people over the two-week period and the total number of cases since the pandemic began. The statistics do not include the results of home tests.
Abington: 33 cases; 13.8 rate; 4,316 total
Braintree: 77 cases; 14..1 rate; 9,998 total
Carver: 23 cases; 14.1 rate; 2,465 total
Cohasset: 20 cases; 17 rate; 1,363 total
Duxbury: 28 cases; 12.4 rate; 2,911 total
Halifax: 13 cases; 12 rate; 1,616 total
Hanover: 40 cases; 19.3 rate; 4,625 total
Hanson: 23 cases; 15.4 rate; 2,485 total
Hingham: 48 cases; 14.1 rate; 4,984 total
Holbrook: 31 cases; 19.4 rate; 2,946 total.
Hull: 25 cases; 17.7 rate; 1,625 total.
Kingston: 35 cases; 18,2 rate; 3,212 total.
Marshfield: 42 cases; 11.6 rate; 4,971 total
Milton: 54 cases; 13.5 rate; 6,613 total
Norwell: 19 cases; 12 rate; 2,398 total
Pembroke: 43 cases; 16.7 rate; 4,102 total
Plymouth: 171 cases; 20 rate; 14,726 total
Quincy: 244 cases; 17.1 rate; 21,564 total
Randolph: 122 cases; 24.9 rate; 10,837 total
Rockland: 61 cases; 24,5 rate; 4,729 total
Scituate: 35 cases; 13.1 rate; 3,366 total
Weymouth: 135 cases; 16.8 rate; 13,394 total
'Whitman: 40 cases; 18.9 rate; 3,681 total
This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: South Shore COVID cases down as state approaches 20,000 deaths