Framingham’s rate of known new Covid-19 cases dropped considerably this week compared with the same 14-day period a week ago, according to data released today by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. However, while the trend is excellent, the overall daily rate of 227 known new cases per 100,000 population is still higher than at any time in 2020 or 2021 (although testing was extremely limited at the start of the pandemic). Many hospitals in the region remain overwhelmed.
“We still have all of our surge spaces open, so we are beyond 100% capacity, our emergency rooms are packed with people coming in with COVID symptoms, and positive COVID, so we are still at full tilt,” Dr. Robert Klugman at UMass Memorial Medical Center told NBC 10 Boston.
And as many experts warned, the explosion in Omicron cases has meant a rise in fatalities. Even if a smaller percent of overall cases end in severe illness or death, the enormous number of total infections means that a tiny percent of a huge number is still a lot of people. Sadly, the city announced seven new deaths from Covid-19 this week – the highest weekly total since February 2021, when most Americans did not yet have access to vaccines.
A total of 270 Framingham residents are known to have died of Covid-19 (likely an undercount), or roughly one out of every 276 people alive in the city at the start of the pandemic. That translates into thousands who have lost a family member or friend. The city did not release demographics of those who died last week, but you can see overall age demographics here. The city’s seniors were hit especially hard.
We don’t have data on how many residents are suffering from long Covid, either in Framingham or state/nationwide.
Test positivity remains very high at more than 18.1%, meaning many infections are being missed. In addition, these numbers don’t include people who test positive using at-home antigen tests, unless those residents also confirm the diagnosis with an “official” PCR test.
Number of PCR tests declined 14% while number of cases detected dropped more, by one-third.
Rise in vaccinations
Almost 37% of the city’s residents have now received a booster shot. 89.5% are partially vaxxed while 76.5% fulfill the initial definition of fully vaccinated by receiving two mRNA doses or one J&J.
Good news in MWRA Wastewater Samples
Covid-19 traces in MWRA wastewater – often a leading indicator of case trends – continue to drop. That data are considered a good predictor of future cases in part because wastewater samples don’t depend on how many tests are administered to individuals or what mix of people get tested.
Graph is below. Framingham is part of MWRA’s South region. (You can click the legend to turn lines off and on as well as click and drag to zoom in on a portion of the graph.)