Massachusetts' coronavirus death toll topped 15,000 on Friday, yet another grim milestone reported by health officials in the pandemic even as they reported a hopeful one: that more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the state.
It's been just over a year since the first coronavirus case was reported in Massachusetts, and under 11 months since the state's first death related to the pandemic was announced.
The vaccination drive brings hope of a return to some semblance of normalcy, as the approved vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective at limiting severe versions of the sickness caused by the virus. Data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health showed that 1,034,018 doses have been administered in-state as of Friday, up from 987,774 on Thursday.
The department also confirmed 87 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the death toll to 15,051. And 2,228 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 525,486, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Another 307 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.
Generally, Massachusetts' coronavirus metrics have been trending down 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, fell to 2.55% from 2.65%.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 decreased to 1,223. Of that number on Friday, 300 were listed as being in intensive care units and 180 were intubated, according to health officials.
The number of estimated active cases fell below 50,000 to 48,280.
The new tool, vaxfinder.mass.gov, shows vaccine sites and appointment availability all on one page, and is also searchable by city or town.