Worcester’s weekly COVID cases drop for a sixth straight week, hospitalizations continue to decline

The city of Worcester’s seven-day average of new positive cases dropped for a sixth straight week to 44.9, city officials announced Friday.

The total number of COVID-19-positive inpatients in city hospitals has also declined with 50 overall, 11 of which are in intensive care units.

During the week of Feb. 18 through Feb. 25, one Worcester resident passed away due to COVID, bringing the city’s total to 514 deaths since the pandemic began.

The rate of COVID test positivity has fallen below four percent, and according to Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh, “the virus continues to be nearly undetectable in city wastewater,” officials wrote in a news release.

In the neighboring towns of Shrewsbury and Grafton, the seven-day averages of new positive cases have fallen to 4.4 and 1.9, respectively.

Worcester’s rate of residents fully vaccinated remains at 61% with a slight increase of 710 individuals over last week, while 73% have received at least one dose. Of those fully vaccinated residents, 1,258 more individuals received a booster dose in the last week, maintaining a rate of 45%, which is two percentage points above the state average.

According to the city, these latest numbers do not reflect total doses administered at the city’s series of school vacation week clinics, which will be concluding Saturday, Feb. 26, at Gala Foods. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., residents looking for a vaccine dose or booster can visit 664 Main St. and be entered to win one of two Nintendo Switches and 10 $40 movie passes. Free lunch and Gala Foods gift cards will also be provided.

Saturday’s clinic is also the last chance for Worcester youth ages five through 17 receiving their first or second vaccine dose to be entered to win a $3,000 college scholarship.

Following cancellations due to Friday’s storm, the city’s regularly scheduled clinics will resume next week. A full schedule can be found at worcesterma.gov/coronavirus/vaccination.

On Friday, the CDC released new community metrics regarding the risk of COVID transmission. According to the new metrics, Worcester County falls under the medium risk level, which advises that people who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease, or people in close contact with someone who is at high risk, to consider wearing a mask, the city said.

According to city officials, Worcester will continue to follow masking guidelines set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Health state mask advisory.

On Thursday, Feb. 17, the city rescinded its mask mandate, however, A mask requirement for Worcester’s K-12 public, private, parochial, and charter schools will remain in place until at least March 8.

Overall, the percentage of COVID tests coming back positive continues to decrease across the state as cases, hospitalizations and confirmed COVID deaths all continue a downward trend.

The state reported the seven-day percent positivity of new tests is 2.13%. That’s a number that soared to more than 22% in January and has been falling since.

The state on Friday reported another 1,329 new cases — about 230 fewer cases than reported last week.

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