Massachusetts public health officials reported 1,857 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday and 27 more deaths.
That puts the total confirmed cases at 574,135 and the death toll at 16,426, 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, ticked up to 1.93% from 1.92%.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 decreased slightly to 592. Of that number, 164 were listed as being in intensive care units and 98 were intubated, according to health officials.
More than 2.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered in Massachusetts, according to the department's daily vaccine report, including over 1.7 million first doses and nearly 930,000 second doses.
The state is now just shy of the 1 million vaccination milestone, as more than 997,000 people have been fully immunized.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday that all residents of Massachusetts age 16 and older will be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine beginning April 19.
Before that date, residents age 60 and older as well as workers considered essential can get a vaccine starting March 22, while those 55 and older can get a shot beginning April 5.
The essential workers eligible for a vaccination starting March 22 include those who work at supermarkets and convenience stores, restaurant workers, transit employees and funeral home workers.
Depending on supply, it could still take weeks for people to be notified that an appointment is available at a mass vaccination site.
All residents can preregister to book an appointment at a mass vaccination site at mass.gov/COVIDVaccine.
The state so far has been concentrating its vaccination efforts on first responders, health care workers, residents age 65 and older, teachers, and those with underlying health conditions.
The April 19 target is ahead of President Joe Biden’s goal of making the vaccine available to all adults who want it by May.
Baker said that the state is seeing what he called significant support from the federal government with increases in doses of vaccine.
He said the state should be receiving about 316,000 first and second doses for next week including 170,000 first doses and 8,000 unanticipated doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“The news about the arrival of more vaccine from the federal government means we will be able to move faster to get doses to our residents. This is long overdue and welcome, We’re all eager to get back to something like normal and see our friends and loved ones again,” the Republican said Wednesday at a press conference at a health center in Brockton.
Baker said that while the ramping up of the number of vaccine doses is a hopeful sign, people are still getting sick and everyone should continue to take precautions like wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
“It’s important that we don’t forget that COVID is still very much with us and is going to be with us for the foreseeable future,” he said, “We can’t let our guard down and we certainly shouldn’t do so when we are this close to the finish line.”