BOSTON – Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday will detail a timetable for opening up access to COVID-19 vaccines for the remainder of the state’s residents still waiting to become eligible, the governor said in a tweet Tuesday night.
“Tomorrow morning, our administration will release the schedule for all remaining groups in MA’s vaccine plan. Every resident will know when they are eligible for a vaccine. Thank you for making MA a national leader in the vaccination effort!” the governor tweeted.
The move comes a week after the Baker administration launched a new vaccine preregistration system, and as President Joe Biden is challenging all states to make COVID-19 vaccine available to all of their residents, regardless of age, health or occupation, by May. Baker had repeatedly said that the limits on the state’s ability to vaccinate more groups has to do with supply, not capacity.
Officials said Tuesday they were told by the White House to expect 170,000 doses this week, up from 150,000 last week.
To the south, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that residents aged 45 and older will be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations beginning Friday and all residents aged 16 and older will become eligible on April 5.
As it waited for vaccines to be developed and approved for use, the Baker administration developed a three-phase vaccination plan. It’s currently in the middle of Phase 2, having only recently expanded eligibility to residents 65 and older on Feb. 18 followed by K-12 educators last Thursday.
Remaining groups to become eligible include other “essential workers,” such as transit and grocery employees, residents with one underlying health risk, and then the general public.
Public health officials confirmed 1,018 new COVID-19 infections in Massachusetts on Tuesday and announced 16 recent deaths caused by the virus.
After coming down from the peak of the second surge of the coronavirus earlier this year, some of the main metrics the state uses to track the pandemic seem to be starting to flatten out.
From Jan. 15 to Feb. 15, the state’s seven-day average number of daily new cases dropped from 4,610.3 to 1,646.9, a decrease of more than 64 percent. Since Feb. 15, the average has dropped to 1070.3, about half the rate of decrease of the previous 30 days. The seven-day positive test rate dropped from 6.18 percent on Jan. 15 to 2.27 percent on Feb. 15, a 63 percent decrease. Since Feb. 15, the average rate has dropped about a fifth to stand at 1.86 percent.
But as more people become vaccinated, the average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 and the average number of daily deaths from COVID-19 are falling faster than they were earlier this year.
The average number of hospitalizations fell from 2,221.9 on Jan. 15 to 1,221.5 on Feb. 15, a decline of 45 percent. But since Feb. 15, the average has fallen by 46 percent to 654.5 patients on average. The seven-day average of confirmed COVID-19 deaths dropped from 71.9 on Jan. 15 to 52.7 as of Feb. 15, a drop of almost 27 percent, and has since fallen to 27.1 deaths, a decrease of almost 49 percent.
Since the pandemic began, 570,638 people in Massachusetts have tested positive for COVID-19 and 16,355 of those people lost their lives to the virus, a fatality rate of roughly 2.87 percent. In all, 16,688 people in Massachusetts have died of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.