Massachusetts public health officials reported 1,589 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 42 more deaths on Thursday.
The update brings the totals to 563,983 confirmed cases and 16,218 deaths, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Another 333 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.
Generally, Massachusetts' coronavirus metrics have been trending downward in the past several weeks, according to the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard, with the average number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths peaking in the second week of January. The testing rate peaked Jan. 1. The figures reported daily are important for tracking trends with the virus' spread, though a single-day change may not reflect a larger trend, and may reflect incomplete data.
The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, decreased from 1.77% to 1.72%.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 decreased to 680. Of that number, 176 were listed as being in intensive care units and 122 were intubated, according to health officials.
The number of estimated active cases decreased to 25,901 from 26,135 on Wednesday.
In an effort to help smooth over what has been a rocky vaccine rollout, Massachusetts is set to launch a new preregistration signup tool Friday morning aimed at making it easier to book a time at any of the state’s seven mass vaccination sites.
The system will replace current online booking platforms. More sites will be added to the preregistration system in April, state health officials said.
This tool will be available at https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
After filling out the online form, residents will get a confirmation by phone, text or email and receive a weekly update about their status. Residents can opt out if they secure an appointment elsewhere.
When an appointment becomes available, the individual will be notified and have 24 hours to accept. If an appointment is not accepted after 24 hours, the resident will have to get back in line to wait for another appointment.