Massachusetts reported 89 coronavirus deaths Wednesday, its highest number in a single day this fall.
There were also 5,675 new cases of the virus in Wednesday's COVID-19 report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, a return to high levels being reported last week after a few days with under 4,000 new cases.
Massachusetts hasn't reported this many deaths in one day since May, according to archival data.
There have now been 10,922 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 259,324 cases, according to the DPH. Another 244 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.
The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, has ticked up to 5.9%, according to the report.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased to 1,576. Of that number, 308 were listed as being in intensive care units and 162 are intubated, according to DPH.
During a news conference earlier in the day, Gov. Charlie Baker announced that the distribution of the first round of COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Massachusetts is set to begin as early as next week.
MASS. VACCINE DETAILS: Governor's Plan on Who Will Get It and When
The state's first shipment of nearly 60,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine was ordered from the federal government Friday and will be delivered directly to 21 hospitals, as well as to the Department of Public Health Immunization lab, beginning around Dec. 15.
Doses will then be redistributed for access to 74 hospitals across all 14 counties for front-line medical workers. The next 40,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine will be allocated to the Federal Pharmacy Program to begin vaccinating staff and residents of skilled nursing facilities, rest homes and assisted living residences, according to Baker.
"Vaccine will be distributed in phases, starting with our highest risk and highest need individuals," Baker said. "Vaccine distribution will be a long process that plays out over several months, and these timelines could change based on production."
The state is expecting 300,000 first doses of the vaccine to be delivered by the end of December.
The vaccine could become available to the general public in the Bay State by mid-April, Baker said.