Reports of COVID breakthrough cases continue to rise — as of July 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 5,492 breakthrough cases resulting in death and hospitalization.
A breakthrough case refers to anyone who is diagnosed with COVID after being fully vaccinated. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.
In May, the CDC revised its system for reporting breakthrough cases, stating it would count only those cases that result in hospitalization or death. Previously, the agency had included in its breakthrough count anyone who tested positive for COVID.
Some states follow the new CDC guidance for counting breakthrough cases. Other states continue to report, at the state level, all cases where an individual test positive, but may choose to report only hospitalizations and deaths to the CDC.
Illinois, Massachusetts update breakthrough case numbers
According to data updated July 14 by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), 151 people in Illinois have died from COVID or COVID-related complications after being fully vaccinated. At least 563 fully vaccinated people were hospitalized, IDPH said.
Illinois follows CDC guidance, reporting only on breakthrough infections among those who have been hospitalized or died. The state does not publicize the number of residents who tested positive after being fully vaccinated but did not die or require hospitalization in order to “help maximize the quality of the data collected on cases of greatest clinical and public health importance,” IDPH’s website states.
In Massachusetts, public health officials have tracked 4,450 breakthrough cases, WBUR reported. About 92% of those cases did not result in hospitalization, while 303 people, or 6.8%, were hospitalized, according to Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) data through July 10.
Seventy-nine vaccinated residents in Massachusetts died from COVID, either without being hospitalized or following a hospital stay, DPH said.