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February 12, 2021

COVID-19 cases drop in Worcester County to previous highs of last spring

Photo | Matt Wright COVID-19 vaccinations have been given to first responders from Worcester and surrounding communities at the Worcester Senior Center.

New coronavirus cases in Worcester County have fallen so far from such a high peak in the past few weeks that cases are finally nearly back down to their previous high from last spring.

That dramatic fall in the past month puts into perspective both how severely high cases were around and just after the holidays — when county cases surpassed 4,000 a week, more than doubling last spring's previous high — and how far they've come down since, coinciding initially with tighter business restrictions and later with a faster rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Worcester County had 1,961 new cases in the past week through Thursday, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. That brings the county's total so far to 62,315 since the pandemic began. Roughly half of those cases have taken place in the past two months alone.

Similar drops — steep at first, and less so in the past week — have taken place statewide and in the city of Worcester.

In Worcester, 550 new cases in the past week bring the city's total so far to 19,871. Across Massachusetts, 16,092 new cases put the total to 523,258. In the city's case, new cases have dropped below highs from last spring, while in the state's case they remain narrowly above that mark.

Deaths are falling at a slower pace.

Worcester County had 53 new deaths in the past week to bring its total to 1,922 since the pandemic began. Worcester has had 10 new reported deaths in the past week and 392 in total. Across Massachusetts, 475 new deaths brings the statewide total to 14,964. The state's per-capita death rate since the start of the pandemic trails only New Jersey and New York, two other states hit badly early in the pandemic last year, according to a New York Times tally.

The city's hospital systems are also seeing declining patient cases. UMass Memorial Health Care and Saint Vincent Hospital had a combined 119 positive inpatient cases as of Thursday, according to the city, a drop of 69 from a week prior. Intensive care patients dropped by seven to 37. A field hospital at the DCU Center is down to 20 cases more than two months after it opened for a second time to serve less-severe pandemic patients.

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