9 Massachusetts Counties Now Subject To Cdc Masking Guidance

BOSTON (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated mask guidance now applies to nine Massachusetts counties, according to data released Monday.

That is up from five counties last week.

The guidance issued last week recommends that everyone in a place with a “substantial" or “high” coronavirus transmission rate wear a face covering in indoor, public places regardless of vaccination status.

According to CDC data collected during the week that ended Saturday, Barnstable and Nantucket counties are in the “high" transmission rate category.

Bristol, Essex, Hampden, Middlesex, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties are in the “substantial" zone.

Provincetown, which had a cluster of about 900 confirmed cases stemming from July Fourth celebrations, is in Barnstable County. Town Manager Alex Morse posted on social media Monday that the number of active cases and daily percent positive rates continue to decline and “we are well on our way to containment."

Of those cases, only seven hospitalizations and no deaths have been reported.

The percent positive rate peaked at 15% on July 15 and was down to 3.3% Saturday and 4% Sunday, he said. The cluster was blamed on the highly-contagious delta variant.

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NORTHEASTERN FACULTY VACCINES

Northeastern University announced Sunday that faculty and staff will be required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in time for the fall semester.

“Now, as cases of COVID-19 tick upward across the country and a more contagious strain of SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 — gains traction, university officials are requiring faculty and staff to submit verification of vaccination by Sept. 8, 2021," the Boston-based university posted on its website.

The mandate applies to U.S.-based faculty and requests for vaccine exemptions for medical reasons or “a sincerely held religious belief” will be considered.

Northeastern announced in April that students would require a vaccination for the fall semester, one of the first major colleges in the nation to do so.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by more than 2,000 over the weekend while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by two.

The new numbers from Friday through Sunday pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,716 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to more than 674,500.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were about 215 people reported hospitalized Monday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 50 in intensive care units.

The average age of those who have died from COVID-19 in Massachusetts was 70.

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IMMUNIZATIONS

More than 8.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts as of Monday.

That includes more than 4.5 million first doses and more than 4 million second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

There have been more than 289,000 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.

More than 4.3 million people have been fully immunized in the state.