TAUNTON — Over the past week, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have nearly doubled in the city.
On Thursday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that there are 26 people hospitalized with COVID at Morton. Last week, there were 15. Three of those people are in the intensive care unit.
Also on Thursday, Mass. DPH's weekly public health report showed the highest weekly total of new COVID cases since Jan. 28, when the city was still in the grips of a winter virus surge.
The surge that the city has been experiencing for several months now continues.
There were 241 new cases of COVID reported in Taunton over the last week. The last time a higher total was reported was on Jan. 28, when there were 243.
Overall, Mass. DPH reported 662 new cases of COVID in the Greater Taunton area.
The city's positivity rate has climbed steadily for a month now, reaching 7.30% this week, up from 5.75% last week.
The state's seven-day average is 4.94% as of Thursday.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 8,688 total cases of COVID-19 in the city. The running two-week case total is 409, and the city's daily incidence rate this past week was 50.7 per 100,000 in population.
On Thursday, state health officials also reported 5,170 new cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, bringing the total to 865,450 cases statewide since the pandemic began.
Officials also reported 31 new COVID-related deaths. More than 19,000 Massachusetts residents have died since the pandemic began. The state's death toll is now 19,047 people.
Over the last two weeks, DPH says that 22 people have died in Bristol County.
Who's been vaccinated?
Children ages 5 to 11 have been eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine for a month now, and some vaccinated children have now reached their window for full vaccination.
Across Greater Taunton, and Bristol County in general, the amount of fully vaccinated 5 to 11 year olds is therefore still low.
As of the latest DPH report, this is how vaccination efforts are going for that demographic:
Taunton: 10% partially vaccinated; 1% fully vaccinated (40 out of 4,494 pop.)
Berkley: 13% partially vaccinated; 1% fully vaccinated (8 out of 584 pop.)
Dighton: 15% partially vaccinated; 2% fully vaccinated (11 out of 711 pop.)
Freetown: 19% partially vaccinated; 4% fully vaccinated (28 out of 713 pop.)
Lakeville: 23% partially vaccinated; 4% fully vaccinated (30 out of 854 pop.)
Middleboro: 11% partially vaccinated; 1% fully vaccinated (18 out of 1,991 pop.)
Norton: 29% partially vaccinated; 2% fully vaccinated (20 out of 1,326 pop.)
Raynham: 23% partially vaccinated; 3% fully vaccinated (42 out of 1,291 pop.)
Rehoboth: 11% partially vaccinated; 1% fully vaccinated (10 out of 988 pop.)
Bristol County COVID vaccine tracker: 60% of people fully vaccinated
Overall, Taunton has reached 61% full vaccination. As of the latest report, that is 35,337 people in the city.
Sixty-eight percent, or 39,401 people, has received at least one dose.
Someone is considered fully vaccinated when they are two weeks out from receiving either a one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine or the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
As of this week, the only two towns in the Greater Taunton area that have not met or exceeded 60% full vaccination are Middleboro and Rehoboth.
The latest overall vaccination figures for Greater Taunton:
Berkley: 67% partially vaccinated; 61% fully vaccinated
Dighton: 68% partially vaccinated; 60% fully vaccinated
Freetown: 73% partially vaccinated; 65% fully vaccinated
Lakeville: 74% partially vaccinated; 65% fully vaccinated
Middleboro: 61% partially vaccinated; 54% fully vaccinated
Norton: 71% partially vaccinated; 61% fully vaccinated
Raynham: 76% partially vaccinated; 68% fully vaccinated
Rehoboth: 62% partially vaccinated; 53% fully vaccinated
So far, 13,423,900 vaccine doses have been shipped to the state, and 11,448,814 have now been administered.
The state has also administered more than 1.1 million booster shots as of Thursday: 1,169,799, to be precise.
The COVID-19 vaccines are all free, and some locations that offer the vaccine accept walk-ins. Visit the state's Vaxfinder website to book an appointment, or call 211.
As of the latest DPH vaccine report, 4,883,161 Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated.
Hospitalizations due to COVID
According to state health officials, there are 989 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and 206 of them are in an intensive care unit.
At Morton Hospital in Taunton, there are 26 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and three of them are in the ICU.
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COVID in Greater Taunton
With the exception of Berkley, all of Taunton's surrounding towns reported jumps in new COVID cases over the past week.
Middleboro had the most new cases by far, with 94.
Berkley was the only town that reported fewer cases than last week, with 17 new COVID cases in town. Last week's report listed 33 new cases.
Over the past week, DPH reports that there were 662 (including the 241 cases in Taunton) new cases of COVID-19 reported for Greater Taunton:
Berkley: 17 new cases; 1,014 total; 51 two-week running case count; 53.5 average daily incidence rate; 9.84% positivity.
Dighton: 37 new cases; 985 total; 55 two-week running case count; 49.6 average daily incidence rate; 8.59% positivity.
Freetown: 58 new cases; 1,381 total; 96 two-week running case count; 75.8 average daily incidence rate; 11.17% positivity.
Lakeville: 65 new cases; 1,476 total; 98 two-week running case count; 61.6 average daily incidence rate; 9.86% positivity.
Middleboro: 94 new cases; 3,151 total; 171 two-week running case count; 44.6 average daily incidence rate; 7.84% positivity.
Norton: 52 new cases; 2,017 total; 89 two-week running case count; 31.9 average daily incidence rate; 2.91% positivity.
Raynham: 58 new cases; 2,127 total; 77 two-week running case count; 36.4 average daily incidence rate; 5.69% positivity.
Rehoboth: 40 new cases; 1,389 total; 76 two-week running case count; 42.7 average daily incidence rate; 9.63% positivity.
Taunton Daily Gazette/Herald News copy editor and digital producer Kristina Fontes can be reached at email@example.com. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News and Taunton Daily Gazette today.
This article originally appeared on The Taunton Daily Gazette: Taunton COVID hospitalizations almost double as surge continues