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Massachusetts falls just shy of vaccination goal for week

April 16, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has fallen just short of a prediction by Gov. Charlie Baker that 2 million residents would be reported fully vaccinated by Friday.

On Monday, the Republican said the state was on track to cross the 2 million mark by week’s end in vaccinating residents against COVID-19.

On Friday, the state reported that 1.95 million residents had been fully vaccinated, just shy of the goal.

Baker had made the prediction before the state, on the recommendation of federal health officials, placed a pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The state also reported Friday that more than 4.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts.

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That includes more than 2.9 million first doses and more than 1.7 million second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, both of which require two shots.

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HIGH-RISK COMMUNITIES

The number of Massachusetts communities considered at high risk for spread of the coronavirus has dropped to 59, down from 77 last week, according to the state Department of Public Health.

It is the first time in a month that the number of high-risk communities has dropped, according to data released Thursday.

The high risk communities are concentrated mostly in the Merrimack Valley, the Springfield area and the southeastern part of the state, including Cape Cod.

Seven communities were added to the high-risk category since last week’s report, and 25 were removed from it.

Larger communities are designated high risk if they have an average of more than 10 cases per 100,000 residents and a positive test rate greater than or at 4% during a given week.

Cities and towns with 10,000 to 50,000 residents are categorized as high risk if they average more than 10 cases per 100,000 people and have a positive test rate of 5% or higher. If communities with fewer than 10,000 residents have more than 25 cases, they are considered high risk.

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SWAN BOATS RETURN

The Boston Public Garden’s famous Swan Boats, which took last summer off because the pandemic, are returning next month.

The 2021 season will open May 8, acting Mayor Kim Janey said in a statement Thursday. Masks will still be required, and passengers will be safely spaced both in line and on the vessels themselves.

The Paget family, which has run the iconic Boston tradition since 1877, said last summer was the first time the entire season had been canceled.

Each Swan Boat weighs 3 tons fully laden and is powered by the driver using a foot-propelled paddle wheel.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by about 1,900 Friday while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 13.

The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,100 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to about 628,000.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were about 700 people reported hospitalized Friday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 160 in intensive care units.

The average age of those hospitalized was 59. There were an estimated 35,000 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.