Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are lower this week than they were last week, according to numbers released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Wednesday, October 21.

As of the report, one patient with the disease was hospitalized at Falmouth Hospital and was not in intensive care. Cape Cod Hospital was not treating any patients with the illness.

In the past week a total of 34 people have tested positive for COVID-19 on Cape Cod, down from the 40 new cases reported last week. The state reports that Barnstable County has had a total of 1,911 cases of the illness, while the Centers for Disease Control has a higher total at 2,127.

The CDC reports that the county accounts for 1.4 percent of all cases of the illness across the state.

Three people on Cape Cod have died from the illness in the past week.

While the state typically reports COVID-19 data by town on Wednesdays, that report will now be released on Thursdays at 4 PM. As a result, updates to the risk level in each town were not immediately available.

Across the state, a total of 142,941 cases of the disease have been confirmed since the initial outbreak began, and 9,559 people have died.

More than 5.3 million nasal swab tests have been administered to a total of 2.6 million people since the outbreak began.

On Wednesday the CDC updated the definition of a "close contact" when it comes to COVID-19.

A close contact is now defined as being within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over the course of 24 hours. As an example, having three exposures to a person in five-minute intervals over the course of one day will now be considered a close contact.

The close-contact period begins starting at two days before the onset of the illness. If the infected person is asymptomatic, the close contact period starts two days before the patient was tested.

Previously, the definition of a close contact was being within six feet of an infected person for 15 consecutive minutes.

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