The city appears to be starting to follow the rest of Massachusetts with an overall decline in new cases, but the current winter surge Taunton finds itself in is worse than the one the city experienced last January.
In January 2021, there were 1,351 new cases of COVID-19 in Taunton.
This month, there have been 3,818 new cases.
Although case numbers remain elevated, there are some signs that the surge could wane. Only time will tell, but for now, new COVID cases have declined for two weeks in Taunton, and for the first time in a month, the city's positivity rate went down over the past week.
On Thursday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released its latest weekly report, and there were 631 new cases of COVID-19 reported for Taunton.
The highest weekly case totals of the entire pandemic were recorded this month:
Jan. 6: 1,015 new cases
Jan. 13: 1,257 new cases (this was the worst weekly total of the pandemic)
Jan. 20: 915 new cases
Jan. 27: 631 new cases
For the sixth week running, there were more than 1,000 new COVID cases reported across the Greater Taunton area: 1,662.
Taunton has now surpassed more than 14,000 cases since the pandemic began, with a total of 14,103.
According to the DPH report, Taunton's running two-week case total is 1,553, and the city's daily incidence rate this past week was 192.7 per 100,000 in population.
Taunton's positivity rate fell from 25.40% last week to 20.99% this week.
That's higher than the state's seven-day average, which is 9.48% as of Thursday.
Taunton reached a vaccination milestone this past week, with 65% of the city's residents now fully vaccinated.
On Thursday, state health officials also reported 8,616 new cases of COVID-19. There have been a total of 1,466,315 cases statewide since the pandemic began.
Officials also reported 84 new COVID-related deaths. The state's death toll is 21,271 people.
Mass. DPH is also reporting that 97 people in Bristol County have died over the last two weeks, and that the total confirmed and probable COVID deaths in Bristol County is now 2,261 people.
COVID in Bristol County: Cases fall 23.3%; Massachusetts cases plummet 25%
Who's been vaccinated?
Currently in Taunton, 17% of kids age 5 to 11 have been fully vaccinated. That is 760 children out of a population of 4,494 in that age group.
So far, Norton has the highest percentage of fully vaccinated kids in that demographic in the Greater Taunton area, with 35%.
Countywide, Fall River has the lowest percentage of fully vaccinated children ages 5 to 11, with 11%. Mansfield, at 48%, has the highest percentage so far.
Across Greater Taunton, here is how the effort is going to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11:
Taunton: 24% partially vaccinated; 17% fully vaccinated (760 out of 4,494 pop.)
Berkley: 25% partially vaccinated; 21% fully vaccinated (121 out of 584 pop.)
Dighton: 28% partially vaccinated; 19% fully vaccinated (132 out of 711 pop.)
Freetown: 30% partially vaccinated; 22% fully vaccinated (158 out of 713 pop.)
Lakeville: 40% partially vaccinated; 32% fully vaccinated (277 out of 854 pop.)
Middleboro: 22% partially vaccinated; 15% fully vaccinated (306 out of 1,991 pop.)
Norton: 42% partially vaccinated; 35% fully vaccinated (466 out of 1,326 pop.)
Raynham: 37% partially vaccinated; 29% fully vaccinated (378 out of 1,291 pop.)
Rehoboth: 22% partially vaccinated; 12% fully vaccinated (122 out of 988 pop.)
Overall, Taunton has reached 65% full vaccination. As of the latest report, that is 37,346 people in the city. Twenty-nine percent, or 16,688 people, have received a booster.
Seventy-two percent, or 41,695 people, have 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: 70% partially vaccinated; 64% fully vaccinated; 31% boosted
Dighton: 71% partially vaccinated; 63% fully vaccinated; 29% boosted
Freetown: 76% partially vaccinated; 68% fully vaccinated; 35% boosted
Lakeville: 77% partially vaccinated; 69% fully vaccinated; 37% boosted
Middleboro: 63% partially vaccinated; 57% fully vaccinated; 29% boosted
Norton: 73% partially vaccinated; 65% fully vaccinated; 34% boosted
Raynham: 79% partially vaccinated; 72% fully vaccinated; 37% boosted
Rehoboth: 65% partially vaccinated; 55% fully vaccinated; 22% boosted
So far, more than 15.5 million (15,567,350) vaccine doses have been shipped to the state, and more than 13.5 million (13,545,827) have now been administered.
The state has also administered more than 2.6 million booster shots as of Thursday: 2,650,607, 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, 5,192,287 Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated.
Bristol County COVID vaccine tracker: 64% of people fully vaccinated
Hospitalizations due to COVID
All hospitals in Massachusetts now report two separate datasets when it comes to COVID-19 and hospitalizations: the number of patients hospitalized primarily for COVID-19, and those who are hospitalized for something else and then test positive while hospitalized.
According to state health officials, there are 2,521 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and 396 of them are in an intensive care unit.
Of those patients, 1,239 (49.1%) were hospitalized primarily for COVID-19. The others, 1,282 (50.9%), tested positive for COVID-19 while they were hospitalized for other reasons.
At Morton Hospital in Taunton, Mass. DPH reports that there are 47 people hospitalized with COVID, and six of them are in the ICU.
COVID in Greater Taunton
All but two of Taunton's surrounding towns reported decreases in new COVID cases over the past week. For those towns that reported decreases, it was the second week in a row for all of them.
The two exceptions were Dighton and Rehoboth, which reported 92 new cases, and 142 new cases, respectively, up from 79 and 129 last week.
Middleboro once again reported the highest weekly total, other than Taunton, with 223 new cases.
Over the past week, DPH reports that there were 1,662 (including the 631 cases in Taunton) new cases of COVID-19 reported for Greater Taunton:
Berkley: 80 new cases; 1,663 total; 207 two-week running case count; 217.0 average daily incidence rate; 27.16% positivity.
Dighton: 92 new cases; 1,649 total; 173 two-week running case count; 155.9 average daily incidence rate; 20.36% positivity.
Freetown: 109 new cases; 2,188 total; 244 two-week running case count; 192.6 average daily incidence rate; 21.98% positivity.
Lakeville: 115 new cases; 2,471 total; 289 two-week running case count; 181.6 average daily incidence rate; 24.28% positivity.
Middleboro: 223 new cases; 5,087 total; 533 two-week running case count; 138.9 average daily incidence rate; 18.46% positivity.
Norton: 127 new cases; 3,364 total; 355 two-week running case count; 127.4 average daily incidence rate; 14.13% positivity.
Raynham: 143 new cases; 3,540 total; 434 two-week running case count; 205.0 average daily incidence rate; 18.75% positivity.
Rehoboth: 142 new cases; 2,271 total; 234 two-week running case count; 131.5 average daily incidence rate; 23.98% positivity.
Taunton Daily Gazette/Herald News copy editor and digital producer Kristina Fontes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 winter surge continues even as cases decline