Health officials in Massachusetts reported another 2,252 cases of COVID-19 and 36 new deaths on Wednesday, as the state approaches 600,000 cases of the virus since the pandemic began.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases now stands at 598,177 while the death toll has risen to 16,844, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Another 341 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.
The seven-day average positive inched down ever so slightly, from 2.55% in Tuesday's report to 2.53% in Wednesday's data. That figure had been below 2% as recently as March 16.
The number of patients in Massachusetts hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 cases fell back below 700. Of the 690 people hospitalized, 169 were listed as being in intensive care units and 93 were intubated, according to health officials.
Health officials' projection of active COVID-19 cases jumped up from 31,298 on Tuesday to 31,911 on Wednesday.
Many of the state's coronavirus metrics had been trending downward after a peak at the very start of the year, though leveled off in recent weeks, according to the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard.
More on COVID in Mass.
According to Wednesday's vaccine report, 1,335,709 Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated against the virus. More than 3.5 million total doses have been administered in the state, including 2,219,002 first dose shots of either Pfizer of Morderna. More than 88,000 Bay State residents have received Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine.
Overall, nearly 85% of the total doses received have been reported as administered, according to the DPH daily report.
Baker said the shipments would be "definitely north of" 100,000 doses and part of 10 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses expected to distributed across the country by the Biden administration next week.
"I can't tell you how important that is," Baker said, stressing that because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose, it helps streamline the vaccination process. "It basically doubles the capacity that is available, but in addition to that, the speed with which somebody actually comes to get vaccinated."
"This is a big sign that things are actually starting to get here," he added.
The expected doses represent a significant increase from this week, when the state says 40,000 doses arrived here.