Mass. Reports 4,821 New Coronavirus Cases, 75 More Deaths

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has decreased and the number of active cases is also trending downward

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Massachusetts reported 4,821 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday and an additional 75 deaths.

There have now been 13,622 confirmed deaths and 462,910 cases, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Another 284 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.

The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, decreased to 5.57% from 5.86% the previous day, the department said.

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has decreased to 2,152. Of that number, 430 were listed as being in intensive care units and 287 are intubated, according to DPH.

The number of estimated active cases is also trending downward, with 88,929 reported in Thursday's report.

Citing improvements to COVID-19 metrics since the start of the year, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday that he will lift the 9:30 p.m. curfew that he imposed in November on restaurants and other businesses, effective Monday.

The post-December holiday season spike in COVID-19 activity was not as severe as the surge that followed Thanksgiving, the governor said, and the 30% drop in the positivity rate, 30% drop in new cases and 10% drop in hospitalizations that have materialized since Jan. 1 suggest it is time to begin easing up on some restrictions.

Though cases, hospitalizations and the positivity rate have all improved since the start of the new year, each category is still significantly worse off than when Baker first imposed the 9:30 p.m. curfew and other restrictions effective Nov. 6.

All home health care workers and health care workers not working with COVID patients are now eligible for vaccinations.

Also on Thursday, Massachusetts officials opened up COVID-19 vaccination to the remaining groups prioritized in the first phase of the Baker administration's vaccine distribution plan, expanding the eligibility to include home-based health care workers and health workers not involved in pandemic response.

Baker made the announcement from Gillette Stadium, currently operating as a mass vaccination site. The state's second large-scale vaccination site, at Fenway Park, is slated to open Feb. 1.

The newly eligible health care workers include dentists, medical and nursing students, physical therapists, hospital interpreters, behavioral health clinicians, blood donation workers, podiatrists, substance use disorder treatment program staff, asthma and allergy specialists, school nurses, clergy members who work with patients, acupuncturists and more, according to a state website that provides more details on each phase of the vaccine plan.

Baker said there are currently 150 vaccination sites up and running in Massachusetts. He said to expect "a lot more site infrastructure" here in the next 10 days to two weeks.

NBC10 Boston and Associated Press
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