Mass. Confirms 1,678 New COVID Cases, 33 More Deaths

The number of estimated active cases increased to 27,113 Sunday from 26,433 on Saturday.

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Massachusetts public health officials on Sunday reported 1,678 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 33 more deaths, one day before a slew of changes take effect in the state.

The update puts the total of confirmed cases at 579,580 and the death toll at 16,531, according to the Department of Public Health's interactive coronavirus dashboard. Another 336 deaths are considered probable, as of Sunday's report.

The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, fell slightly to 1.95% from 1.99%, while the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 also decreased slightly to 580. Of that number, 144 were listed as being in intensive care units and 88 were intubated, according to health officials.

The number of estimated active cases, however, increased to 27,113 Sunday from 26,433 on Saturday.

According to the state's daily vaccine report, there have been more than 2,900,000 coronavirus vaccine doses administered in the Bay State, with 1,069,768 people fully vaccinated against the virus. And starting Monday, more residents will be eligible to get the shots.

Massachusetts residents at least 60 years old and a new group of essential workers, including grocery store and restaurant workers, will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Even as the pace of vaccinations accelerates in Massachusetts and across the United State, COVID-19 cases are increasing in 21 states -- including Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut -- and highly infectious variants are spreading even as governors begin to relax restrictions on businesses.

More essential workers, such as grocery store clerks and restaurant employees, become eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines in Massachusetts Monday.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has urged states not to reopen too quickly and undermine progress the country is making against the pandemic.

The latest report comes one day before Massachusetts begins its final phase of reopening, complete with relaxed travel restrictions and the return of outdoor dining in almost all of Boston.

Large entertainment and sports venues such as the TD Garden and Fenway Park will be allowed to reopen to fans with 12% capacity. In addition, public gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors are the new maximum, but private gatherings won't be able to get any larger, with the limit still at 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.

Also on Monday, the travel order that's been in effect in Massachusetts will be replaced by a new advisory, in which anyone arriving in the state after being elsewhere for more than 24 hours will be advised to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival, but no longer required to do so.

Fully vaccinated travelers are exempt from the advisory, along with travelers who have a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts.

Twenty-nine organizations are asking Gov. Charlie Baker to delay the reopening steps taking effect Monday, by at least a month. Carlene Pavlos, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, says the groups are concerned that there's a possibility of a fourth wave of the pandemic.

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