In Massachusetts, the “Omicron surge” peaked in early January, a few weeks earlier than expected. Based on sewage samples taken in Cambridge, Boston and surrounding communities, the peak of Omicron infections occurred on January 5.
There was a similar downward trend in case data, with the 7-day average of new infections in Cambridge and the state peaking on January 8. Since then, infection rates in Cambridge have fallen by more than 60%.
In other good news, hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Massachusetts stabilized in mid-January after a sharp rise that began in November.
“Clearly we’re in a much better place than two weeks ago, but we’re not off the hook yet,” said Derrick Neal, the city’s chief public health officer and director of the Cambridge Public Health Service. “COVID-19 continues to spread in the community and it may take a few weeks for infection rates to drop to safer levels.”
The Cambridge Public Health Department (CPHD) strongly recommends that residents:
- Get vaccinated and boosted. The rapid spread of Omicron is thought to be a combination of increased transmissibility and the ability of the variant to evade immunity from vaccination or previous infection. Brestoration of ooster vaccines much of the vaccine’s protection against infections, as well as serious illnesses.
- Wear a high quality mask. Cloth masks do not provide an adequate level of protection. High-quality masks are particularly important for people who work directly with the public.
- Reconsider indoor social gatherings. If you gather indoors with friends or family, everyone should wear a mask, especially around high-risk or unvaccinated people.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Follow isolation and quarantine guidelines from the CPHD and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The Cambridge Public Health Department reported eight deaths among city residents in December and January, including two people in their 50s, three people in their 60s, three people in their 80s and one person in their 40s.
“Our hearts go out to the families of these people,” Mr. Neal said. “We urge residents to continue to take precautions to protect their loved ones and the most vulnerable members of our community.”
The highly contagious variant of Omicron has caused a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections this winter. More than 9,000 Cambridge residents tested positive for the virus between December 1 and January 24.