MILTON – Family gatherings for religious holidays and travel during the upcoming school vacation week will add to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, Milton Health Director Caroline Kinsella predicts.
Briefing the town's select board at its Wednesday night remote meeting, Kinsella said the town has seen 79 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the prior two weeks. That doesn't include 40 students and four staff members in the school system who tested positive for COVID-19 with home test kits.
"We're seeing most Milton cases in people between the ages of 20 and 39, mirroring the state," Kinsella said.
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The town is also seeing breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals who have had booster shots, she added.
"Predominantly, we are seeing mild to moderate symptoms in vaccinated individuals," she said.
Across the state and region, COVID-19 cases have risen for the third straight week. And, like Milton, the case counts reported Thursday by the state's Department of Public Health only include lab-confirmed cases, not those found with home tests.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased in the past week, going from 200 on April 7 to 307 on Thursday. But the number of the most serious cases remained about the same, with 30 patients in intensive care units and 15 on breathing equipment.
The total number of cases in 23 South South communities rose to 1,000 for the two weeks ending April 9, according to the weekly report on municipal COVID-19 rates issued by the state health department. That's an increase of 16.5% from the 858 cases the previous week.
The number of cases are still well below where they were three months ago at the height of the omicron surge, when there were 20,000 cases in the region.
Milton is one of four communities whose COVID-19 rate over the two week period was above the statewide average of 18.7 daily cases per 100,000 people. Milton's rate of 19.9 was second only to Norwell's at 21.3. The others were Cohasset with a rate of 19.4 and Pembroke with a rate of 19.
COVID-19 rates rose in all but four municipalities according to this week's report. The rates fell in Hingham and Marshfield, and stayed the same in Hull and Whitman.
Statewide, 2,962 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Thursday's daily summary, bringing the total in the more than two years of the pandemic to 1,585,176.
There were two new deaths reported Thursday, bringing the pandemic total for Massachusetts to 19,052.
The following is a list of the number of cases by community for the two weeks ending April 9, the average daily rate of cases per 100,000 people over the two-week period and the total number of cases since the pandemic began. The statistics do not include the results of home tests.
Abington: 24 cases; 9.4 rate; 3,838 total
Braintree: 92 cases; 16.6 rate; 8,827 total
Carver: 11 cases; 6.4 rate; 2,200 total
Cohasset: 20 cases; 19.4 rate; 1,151 total
Duxbury: 16 cases; 7.6 rate; 2,500 total
Halifax: 12 cases; 11.2 rate; 1,463 total
Hanover: 35 cases; 17.4 rate; 4,059 total
Hanson: 16 cases; 10.6 rate; 2,230 total
Hingham: 43 cases; 12.8 rate; 4,185 total
Holbrook: 20 cases; 12.6 rate; 2,599 total
Hull: 11 cases; 8 rate; 1,343 total
Kingston: 16 cases; 8.4 rate; 2,876 total
Marshfield: 34 cases; 9.4 rate; 4,329 total
Milton: 80 cases; 19.9 rate; 5,767 total
Norwell: 32 cases; 21.3rate; 2,061 total
Pembroke: 50 cases; 19 rate; 3,597 total
Plymouth: 66 cases; 7.5 rate; 13,106 total
Quincy: 163 cases; 11.5 rate; 18,344 total
Randolph: 63 cases; 13.1 rate; 9,547 total
Rockland: 20 cases; 7.9 rate; 4,272 total
Scituate: 30 cases; 11.8 rate; 2,879 total
Weymouth: 127 cases; 16.1 rate; 11,737 total
Whitman: 19 cases; 8.7 rate; 3,331 total
This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Experts warn of vacation, holiday gatherings as South Shore cases rise