Boston health officials on Thursday reported a “significant increase” in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations amid the omicron subvariant wave, as nearly 5,000 new virus cases were recorded across the state.

The 4,957 daily virus cases in Massachusetts was down from 5,576 reported cases last Thursday, but testing dropped 19.5% from last week.

The omicron BA.2 variant has been spreading across the region, along with the subvariant BA.2.12.1 gaining steam in New England.

The state’s daily average positive test rate has been climbing in recent weeks. The average positive test rate is now 9.35%, way up from 1.6% two months ago.

Boston is averaging 61 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents per day, and community positivity is now at 11.5%. The city’s community positivity rate was less than 7% a few weeks ago.

“We have noted a significant increase in both COVID-19 cases and in hospitalizations,” said Bisola Ojikutu, commissioner of Public Health and executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “COVID-19 testing remains a critical tool to decrease the risk of transmission to others, particularly those who are older, immunocompromised, and unvaccinated. They remain at high risk for severe illness.


“We need to decrease onward transmission to others,” she added. “Please test prior to gatherings, wear a well-fitted mask in indoor settings, including public transportation and get boosted if you have not been already.”

State health officials reported 14 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s total recorded death toll to 20,468. The daily average of deaths was much higher following the omicron hospitalization surge. The daily death rate is now eight.

COVID-19 hospitalizations had fallen dramatically after the omicron variant peaked. Now hospitalizations are rising again. There are now 866 COVID-19 patients across the Bay State after hospitalizations increased by 41 patients.

There are 74 patients in intensive care units, and 26 patients are currently intubated across Massachusetts.

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