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Smallest daily total of COVID-19 cases in seven months reported

Boston, MA. – January 25: Governor Charlie Baker speaks to the media on the COVID-19 pandemic at the State House on January 25, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.   (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/ Boston Herald)
Boston, MA. – January 25: Governor Charlie Baker speaks to the media on the COVID-19 pandemic at the State House on January 25, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/ Boston Herald)
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BOSTON – Public health officials reported 481 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts on Monday, the smallest daily total in nearly seven months.

The last time the daily new case number landed below 500 was Oct. 8, 2020, when 409 new cases were recorded, before cases spiked in the fall and winter according to Department of Public Health data.

Monday’s 481 new cases came from 25,827 tests, representing a positivity rate of 1.86 percent. The state’s seven-day average positive test rate stands at 1.49 percent.

The DPH on Monday also reported 18 new deaths among people with test-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and said there were 522 COVID-19 hospitalizations, down three from Sunday’s report.

More than 2.6 million people in Massachusetts are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday that the state would move into a new phase of its vaccine-distribution strategy that will focus on harder-to-reach populations and more targeted efforts like mobile clinics in lieu of the mass vaccination sites that have been emphasized so far.

One of the next milestones that could be on the horizon is emergency authorization of vaccines for children under age 16. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito described the timeline for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for youth aged 12-15 at “the coming weeks,” and she and Baker said that while the state winds down some of its mass-vaccination sites, it will keep the pre-registration system in place for parents who prefer that option for their children. – Katie Lannan

Mostly Second Doses Reported Sunday: Providers on Sunday reported administering 33,643 doses of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines in Massachusetts — about two-thirds of them final doses, the Department of Public Health reported Monday. Of the shots reported Sunday, just 9,866 were first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, each of which requires two shots. The other 23,777 shots reported as administered included 23,168 Moderna or Pfizer second doses and 609 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Since December, Massachusetts has administered 6,256,736 total vaccine doses, and 2,626,191 people here are now fully vaccinated. — Colin A. Young 3:53 PM Mon