Mass. Reports 7,424 More COVID Cases, 46 New Deaths Over Two Days

These numbers come as a series of new restrictions aimed at reducing a second surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across the state goes into effect Saturday

NBC10 Boston

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported two days’ worth of data on Saturday, confirming 7,424 new coronavirus cases and an additional 46 deaths.

The delay in reporting the numbers was planned -- no report was released on Friday, which was Christmas.

There have now been 11,752 confirmed deaths and 335,731 cases, according to DPH. Another 258 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.

The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, has increased to 6.32%, according to the report.

The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased to 2,077. Of that number, 416 were listed as being in intensive care units and 232 are intubated, according to DPH.

Saturday brought the start of a series of new restrictions aimed at reducing a post-holiday surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across the Bay State. The new rules, announced by Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday, will continue until at least Jan. 10.

New COVID-19 restrictions take effect Saturday as cases surge across Massachusetts.

These new restrictions are aimed at preventing another lockdown.

The temporary rules will require businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters, performance venues, casinos, offices, places of worship, retail businesses, fitness centers, health clubs, libraries, golf facilities, driving and flight schools, arcades, museums, and "sectors not otherwise addressed" to limit their capacity to a maximum of 25%. This is down from the previously permitted 40%.

Social events and gatherings will be limited to 10 people inside and 25 people outside, according to Baker.

Additionally, hospitals will be required to halt most elective surgeries until the new restrictions are lifted.

Some business owners voiced concern regarding the announcement of new restrictions Tuesday, worried it would hurt them.

Baker on Wednesday announced that qualifying small businesses would be eligible for grants up to $75,000 or three-months of operating expenses to help pay employee salaries, rent and debt amid the enforcement of the new restrictions. The grants are part of a new $668 million business relief fund operated by the state.

An additional $668 million in grants will be made available to small businesses in Massachusetts.

Businesses eligible for the grants will include restaurants, bars, caterers, indoor recreation and entertainment venues, gyms and fitness centers, event support professionals such as photographers, nail salons, barbershops and retailers, according to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.

The grants will be administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, according to Baker. Business who already submitted applications for a smaller $50 million grant program will not be required to reapply.

The first grants of the $668 million business relief fund will be given to those who could not be funded in the first round of funding. A second two-week application window is set to open on Dec. 31.

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