Friday was the last day that the Department of Public Health provided a daily update on COVID-19 metrics in Massachusetts. The agency announced Friday that it is moving to once-a-week reporting of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, deaths and more.
When the pandemic began, DPH started out providing fresh counts of infected residents, hospitalized patients and COVID-19 deaths seven days a week, allowing residents to track the virus's spread and make informed decisions to protect themselves. A year ago, DPH cut back to providing updates on weekdays only and next week will start updating its COVID-19 Interactive Data Dashboard once a week on Thursdays.
"While we all have become used to checking the numbers every day, monitoring trends over time is actually the most useful way to apply the COVID-19 data," Dr. Helen Boucher, interim dean of Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the governor's Medical Advisory Board, said. "Given that Massachusetts has one of the best vaccination and booster percentages in the nation, these changes make sense at this stage in our COVID-19 response."
DPH is also removing higher education-specific data sections from the dashboard "due to the decrease in surveillance testing being conducted in those settings," and is removing tabs on contact tracing and case clusters because "due to changes in case investigation and contact tracing practices, these data are no longer representative of the current situation," the agency said.
Also starting next week, DPH said it will publish its weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report on Wednesdays rather than Thursdays.
As of Wednesday, there were more than 1.77 million cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Massachusetts since Feb. 2020 and the virus has killed an estimated 21,000 people. The seven-day average positivity rate stands at 7.29 percent, which does not count most of the increasingly popular at-home rapid tests.