QUINCY – COVID-19 cases in the state's schools dropped sharply while the overall numbers rose slightly in the state and region, two state agencies reported on Thursday.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reported 9,803 COVID cases among the state's K-12 students for the week ending on Wednesday.  That's down from 14,878 cases in the previous weekly report. Cases among school staff also dropped, from 4,090 the previous week to 2,926.

The Department of Public Health reported an overall increase in COVID-19 cases for the ninth straight week on Thursday for both the state and the South Shore. Cases rose in 18 of the 23 communities on the South Shore.

Levels of the virus in the region's wastewater, a predictor of future cases, have been dropping since May 17, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority reported. The MWRA's South Region includes seven South Shore municipalities.

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In the 23 communities on the South Shore, the number of COVID-19 cases for the two weeks ending May 21 was 3,552, the Department of Public Health reported. That is an increase of 4.4% over the 3,401 cases from the week before.

The state count shows 50,455 COVID-19 cases in the latest reporting period, up 1.1% over the  previous week's report.

Only lab-confirmed cases are included in the state health department report, not ones found with home test kits.

Three communities had rates higher than the statewide average of 51.7 cases per day per 100,000 people. They are Hanover, with a rate of 71, Hingham and Randolph. The lowest rate is in Whitman at 29.9 per 100,000 people. 

The five communities where COVID-19 case rates declined were Carver, Cohasset, Halifax, Milton and Pembroke.

In Thursday's daily report, the state health department said there were 3,485 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total for the pandemic to 1,707,849.

There were 814 people in the state's hospitals with COVID-19 on Thursday, a 6% drop from the 866 patients a week earlier. There were 79 patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units, up from 74 a week earlier, and 31 people on breathing equipment, up five from the week before.

The state reported 17 new deaths Thursday, bringing the total number of Massachusetts deaths to 19,392. A total of 77 deaths were reported in the past week, five more than the week before.

The following is a list of the number of cases by community for the two weeks ending May 21, the average daily rate of cases per 100,000 people over the two-week period and the total number of cases since the pandemic began. The statistics do not include the results of home tests.

Abington: 95 cases; 37.2 rate; 4,069 total

Braintree: 221 cases; 39.8 rate; 9,384 total

Carver: 57 cases; 33,2 rate; 2,321 total

Cohasset: 42 cases; 40.8 rate; 1,259 total

Duxbury:102 cases; 48.2 rate; 2,711 total

Halifax: 39 cases; 36.4 rate; 1,547 total

Hanover: 143 cases; 71 rate; 4,363 total

Hanson: 60 cases; 39.8 rate; 2,355 total  

Hingham:194 cases; 57.7 rate; 4,630 total

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Holbrook: 76 cases; 47.9 rate; 2,757 total

Hull: 54 cases; 39.4 rate, 1,467 total.

Kingston: 66 cases; 34.5 rate; 3,025 total.

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Marshfield: 135 cases; 37.2 rate; 4,659 total

Milton: 176 cases; 43.7 rate; 6,213 total

Norwell: 75 cases; 50 rate; 2,238 total

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Pembroke: 121 cases; 46 rate; 3,850 total

Plymouth: 311 cases; 35.4 rate; 13,816 total

Quincy: 715 cases; 50.3 rate; 19,986 total

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Randolph: 263 cases; 54.5 rate; 10,125 total

Rockland: 101 cases; 39.9 rate; 4,482  total

Scituate: 104 cases; 41 rate; 3,109 total

Weymouth: 337 cases; 42.8 rate; 12,519 total 

Whitman: 65  cases; 29.9 rate; 3,489 total

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