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Active Mass. COVID-19 Cases Climbing For Nearly A Month

Tourists walk along Commercial Street in Provincetown, an area where local officials ordered it mandatory to wear a mask in the business district due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Tourists walk along Commercial Street in Provincetown, an area where local officials ordered it mandatory to wear a mask in the business district due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The number of active COVID-19 cases rose nearly 25% over the last week and has been steady or climbing for nearly a month while Massachusetts has settled into the third of four reopening phases and planned for the approaching school year.

There were 3,912 people isolated with confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, up from 3,141 people in isolation carrying the highly-contagious virus as of July 29, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Public Health.

Between the report published July 29 and the report released Aug. 5, Massachusetts confirmed 2,275 new cases of COVID-19 — almost 600 cases more than were confirmed the previous week. Over the same time period, 1,426 people recovered from their bouts with the illness and 78 people died with the virus.

When the state first began reporting the number of recoveries and of people under isolation on June 3, there were 7,012 people isolated with the virus. That number of active cases rose to 7,300 in the June 10 report and then fell until settling at 2,586 as of both July 8 and July 15. The number of active coronavirus cases has been climbing since.

Massachusetts Medical Society President Dr. David Rosman last week suggested taking a step back in the state's economic reopening. On Sunday night, he called the numbers from the last few weeks "an unyielding upward trend."

"Either (1) Phase 3 is too liberal or (2) people aren't doing what they should," Rosman tweeted, adding that residents must follow advice from the Baker administration to wear face coverings in public and to avoid large public gatherings.

On Wednesday, Boston was among a handful of cities called out for rising coronavirus activity during a call that White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx held with local and state officials.

"We are concerned that both Baltimore and Atlanta remain at a very high level. Kansas City, Portland, Omaha, of course what we talked about in [California's] Central Valley," Birx said on the call, an audio copy of which was posted online by the Center for Public Integrity. "We are seeing a slow uptick in test positivity in cases in places like Chicago, Boston and Detroit and D.C."

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