Number of high-risk communities finally drops
Vaccination news also improves slightly
THE STATE’S WEEKLY COVID-19 reports showed improvement on Thursday, with the number of high-risk communities dropping for the first time in months and vaccine shipments to the state increasing slightly compared to last week.
The promising news matched other metrics that Gov. Charlie Baker cited in ending a requirement that businesses shut down for the night at 9:30 p.m. Baker said the state’s positive test rate, seven-day average of cases, and hospitalizations were all down since early January. (For more on Baker’s easing of the restriction, click here.)
At a State House press conference, Baker said he wants to expand the number of COVID-19 vaccine inoculation sites but is wary of doing so until he knows more doses are coming. “We can’t plan to build infrastructure if we don’t know what’s coming,” he said. Still, Baker said, the state’s timetable for vaccine distribution is moving on as scheduled, give or take a week or two.
Baker said the nation is currently distributing 800,000 doses a day, and the Biden administration is vowing 100 million shots will be administered over the next 100 days, which works out to 1 million shots a day. Baker said he expects the nation will have to ramp up to the 1 million-a-day figure, which makes planning ahead difficult.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a total of 776,000 doses have been distributed to Massachusetts and 353,117 administered. The federal number of doses administered is nearly 6,000 less than the state’s number while the federal number for deliveries to Massachusetts is 184,225 higher.
The federal number for doses delivered appears to be higher because it includes doses not tracked by the state – those delivered directly to the Walgreens and CVS pharmacy chains.
The state’s weekly report on communities at high-risk for COVID-19 also showed slight improvement. The number of red, or high-risk, communities fell by seven to 222. The number of red communities with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people also dropped by one to 29.The state as a whole reported 75.5 cases per 100,000 people over the previous two weeks and a positive test rate of 6.85 percent. Both numbers were improvements over last week, when the state reported 78 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of 7.99 percent.
The two municipalities with the highest numbers were Acushnet, with 167.5 cases per 100,000 people, and Lawrence , with 160.9 cases per 100,000 people.