coronavirus graphic from CDC

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A surge in coronavirus cases slammed the state last week, as health officials feared it might because of holiday parties.

Confirmed cases totaled 39,946, which is 7,690 more than the previous week’s high of 32,256.

The number of confirmed and probable cases was 42,929.

The high numbers were recorded the weeks after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, respectively.

The record of 39,946 cases for the week ending Jan. 9 was more than double the first surge in April, which came in at 16,976 for the week ending April 25.

That’s a 135 percent increase.

In addition, it’s the first week where more than 7,000 cases were recorded in a single day and that happened for three consecutive days from Jan. 7-9.

The average number of confirmed cases per day was over 5,000 for the first time ever at 5,706.

As previously reported, the 10 communities in The Sun Chronicle area recorded 800 new cases for the week ending Jan. 7, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.

That’s the third highest total for the area. The highest was 914 cases for the week ending Dec. 10.

Meanwhile, Sturdy Memorial Hospital recorded a high of 31 coronavirus patients with eight in the intensive care unit on Wednesday of last week. For the week ending Jan. 9, the hospital averaged 24 and five per day, respectively.

The high point for Sturdy came on April 20 when the hospital reported 54 coronavirus patients, with five in the ICU.

The high point in statewide cases reached for the week ending Jan. 9 came after a long early buildup during the summer, which accelerated during the fall.

After the week ending April 25, numbers declined weekly until the low point was reached on July 4 when there were just 1,015 cases recorded.

After that, the case count started a gradual but steady climb.

Cases began a quicker climb on the week ending Oct. 3 when they nearly doubled from 2,179 to 3,982 in one week.

Fortunately, the number of deaths has not increased at the same rate.

The 562 deaths recorded for the week ending Jan. 9 is the greatest number since the 599 recorded for the week ending May 23.

By comparison, the number of cases for May 23 were 6,729 while last week the number of cases as noted early was 39,946.

For the week ending May 23 that created a death rate of 8.9 percent.

For the week ending Jan. 9 the death rate was 1.4 percent.

The lower death rate is likely the result of the fact that the vast majority of those afflicted with the disease are younger than 60.

About 79 percent of those contracting the disease over the last two weeks were under the age of 60, while 21 percent were over the age of 60.

For the week ending April 25, when the death toll 1,170 was the highest ever, the percentages were closer.

About 61 percent of those contracting the disease were under the age of 60 and while about 39 percent were over the age of 60.

The disease is most lethal to those over that age of 60, and according to DPH the average age of death is 81.

With inoculations for coronavirus underway at area nursing homes, police and firefighters will start to get theirs this week.

Attleboro police officers and firefighters will start getting theirs Tuesday.

Both groups are part of the state’s Phase One rollout of the vaccines.

As of Jan. 7, 141,108 doses of the vaccine had been administered statewide to healthcare workers, nursing home residents and staff.

As of the same date there had been a total of 328,500 doses of vaccines from two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, delivered to the state.

George W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.

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