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January 15, 2021

Worcester County notches yet another record in new virus cases

Photo | Grant Welker The DCU Center field hospital in Worcester

Worcester County didn't surpass 4,000 weekly new coronavirus cases until early December. A month later, it's now exceeded 4,700.

Data released late Thursday showed yet another record broken for new coronavirus cases, with 4,732 cases reported in the past week, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. That brings the county's case total so far to 51,725. 

State numbers continue reaching new highs, too. Massachusetts now has 433,297 cases, a rise in one week of 40,109. Massachusetts had never before exceeded 34,000.

The state has a new total of 13,156 deaths, a jump of 522 in the past week. Worcester County has 76 new deaths to reach 1,677.

In the city of Worcester, the rate of new cases was roughly flat. The city reported 1,219 new cases, a decrease from the prior week, when eight days were included because New Year's Day threw off by a day the city's typical Thursday reporting schedule.

City Manager Edward Augustus said it wasn't clear yet whether that indicated a plateauing of cases a few weeks after Christmas. "Hopefully that's what we're seeing," he said.

The city has a total of 17,129 cases throughout the pandemic.

Worcester's two health care systems, UMass Memorial Health Care and Saint Vincent Hospital, had 244 inpatient coronavirus cases, a slight decrease of 24 from the prior week. The two systems had 60 coronavirus patients in intensive care, a drop of one. UMass Memorial and Saint Vincent have recorded a total of 542 patient deaths, including 33 in the past week. A total of 1,553 health care workers at the two systems have tested positive, including 104 in the past week.

A field hospital at the DCU Center in Worcester had 53 patients as of Thursday, according to the city.

Vaccinations, which began with healthcare workers last month, expanded this week to include police officers, firefighters and other first responders. A vaccination drive at the Worcester Senior Center gave the first of two doses to 754 such workers, according to the city.

Nationally, all-time highs are being recorded in new daily cases, deaths and hospitalizations.

Each day since Jan. 3, at least 200,000 new cases have been reported, according to a New York Times tally, and on Tuesday, 4,406 new deaths were reported, a new high. More than 130,000 people have been hospitalized for most of the past week, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

More than 23 million cases have been reported across the United States, along with more than 387,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Worldwide, cases were nearing 93 million on Thursday afternoon, with close to 2 million deaths.

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