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'Keeping A Close Eye On It,' Massachusetts Sees Increase In COVID Cases

BOSTON (CBS) - While COVID-19 numbers in Massachusetts are still relatively low, per 100,000 people, compared to most of the country, there is still some cause for concern.

"We definitely are keeping a close eye on it," Dr. Paul Sax, the clinical director of the infectious disease clinic at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told WBZ-TV Monday. "Things are worse from a COVID perspective, even here in Massachusetts, than they were a month ago."

Going into the weekend, we saw the highest single day total of new cases in more than a month in Massachusetts last Friday.

Dr. Sax suspects the Delta variant likely accounts for a "substantial majority" of those cases.

"We are seeing an increase in cases. Fortunately, we're much better off as far as vaccine uptake goes, which means a lot of the cases we're seeing here in Massachusetts are very mild because cases are much milder among people who get COVID after the vaccine," he said.

Nationwide, cases have spiked 70-percent in the past week, leading Los Angeles to become the first county in the nation to require masks again indoors, whether you're vaccinated or not. This comes a month after the state dropped restrictions.

Dr. Sax believes similar steps could possibly be in the Commonwealth's future, depending on the trajectory of cases over the next several weeks.

"Most of us infectious disease doctors, when we go into crowded indoor public spaces we continue to wear masks even though I know that's not the official guidance. If you are in a bar or restaurant, a gym and there are people there in particular who are unvaccinated, those are the situations that you're most likely to contract COVID," he told WBZ.

For now, Dr. Sax stressed the importance of getting the remaining portion of the population who are eligible vaccinated, especially 12-to-17 year olds. They might have a better chance of getting a mild illness if infected and could spread it in their homes.

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