Of the 97,964 people in Massachusetts whose COVID-19 diagnosis was confirmed with a molecular test, more than 78,000 of them — or roughly 79% — have recovered from the potentially fatal respiratory disease, the Department of Public Health reported for the first time Wednesday.
Of the nearly 98,000 people confirmed to have had COVID-19, DPH said that 78,108 have been released from isolation and "are considered for purposes of this report to be recovered."
DPH said it considers someone to be released from isolation and therefore recovered "after 21 days of illness or 21 days past the date of their test."
Another 7,012 people, or just more than 7% of all confirmed cases, have died of COVID-19, meaning there are 12,844 active and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The data released Wednesday by DPH, however, does not account for more than 3,600 probable cases of COVID-19 that officials have reported.
DPH had previously said that it did not track COVID-19 recoveries, but that Massachusetts was among a group of states talking with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and each other about coming up with a standardized definition of what it means to have recovered from COVID-19.
"People can and do recover, and we need to remember that," Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in April after she recovered from her own COVID-19 diagnosis and returned to work.