In this Feb. 9, 2022, file photo, passers-by step out of a store in Boston. Credit: Steven Senne / AP

BOSTON — State health officials on Wednesday reported nearly 2,000 new coronavirus cases, yet another increase from last week as COVID-19 hospitalizations ticked up across the region.

The state Department of Public Health’s report of 1,969 cases was a 52 percent jump from last Wednesday’s total of 1,296 infections.

The omicron BA.2 “stealth” variant is now the dominant strain in the U.S., according to the CDC. The subvariant has sparked a rise in virus cases, as more people gather indoors without masks. The Boston-area COVID wastewater data are going up.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts average percent positivity has climbed to 3.48 percent, significantly up from 1.60 percent a few weeks ago. The positive test average for Wednesday’s count was 3.03 percent.

State health officials reported one COVID-19 death, bringing the state’s total recorded death toll to 20,167.

The daily average of COVID-19 deaths is now three. The death rate had been much higher after omicron hospitalizations surged.

After COVID hospitalizations ticked up by 24 patients, the state’s overall patient count is now 286 patients. Hospitalizations had been spiking at a rapid pace amid the omicron surge, but then plunged. Now, hospitalizations appear to be increasing again.

Of the hospitalized COVID patients statewide, 35 percent of patients were reported as being hospitalized due to COVID — and 65 percent of hospitalized patients were reported as testing positive for COVID while hospitalized for other reasons.

Across the state, there are now 34 coronavirus patients in intensive care units, and 15 patients are intubated.

Story by Rick Sobey, Boston Herald.