Experts warn of vacation, holiday gatherings as South Shore cases rise

MILTON – Family gatherings for religious holidays and travel during the upcoming school vacation week will add to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, Milton Health Director Caroline Kinsella predicts. 

Briefing the town’s select board at its Wednesday night remote meeting, Kinsella said the town has seen 79 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the prior two weeks. That doesn’t include 40 students and four staff members in the school system who tested positive for COVID-19 with home test kits.

“We’re seeing most Milton cases in people between the ages of 20 and 39, mirroring the state,” Kinsella said.

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The town is also seeing breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals who have had booster shots, she added.

“Predominantly, we are seeing mild to moderate symptoms in vaccinated individuals,” she said.

Across the state and region, COVID-19 cases have risen for the third straight week.  And, like Milton, the case counts reported Thursday by the state’s Department of Public Health only include lab-confirmed cases, not those found with home tests.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased in the past week, going from 200 on April 7 to 307 on Thursday. But the number of the most serious cases remained about the same, with 30 patients in intensive care units and 15 on breathing equipment.

The total number of cases in 23 South South communities rose to 1,000 for the two weeks ending April 9, according to the weekly report on municipal COVID-19 rates issued by the state health department. That’s an increase of 16.5% from the 858 cases the previous week.

The number of cases are still well below where they were three months ago at the height of the omicron surge, when there were 20,000 cases in the region.

Milton is one of four communities whose COVID-19 rate over the two week period was above the statewide average of 18.7 daily cases per 100,000 people. Milton’s rate of 19.9 was second only to Norwell’s at 21.3.  The others were Cohasset with a rate of 19.4 and Pembroke with a rate of 19.