Confirmed death toll surpasses 17,000

Coronavirus Local Impact

BOSTON (SHNS) – Massachusetts crossed another grim mile-marker in the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday as the number of deaths among people with test-confirmed cases of the respiratory disease surpassed 17,000.

The latest report from the Department of Public Health counts 17,014 fatalities, a figure that rises to 17,358 when adding in the deaths of people who died with probable but not confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Confirmation of 2,292 new infections, from 118,123 tests, brought the state’s cumulative caseload since February 2020 to 611,825, or almost 9 percent of the state’s population. At 2.46 percent, the seven-day average positive test rate is down from the 2.5 percent in Tuesday’s report, while hospitalizations are up — Wednesday’s report tracked 755 people hospitalized as of Tuesday, up 30 from the previous day.

More than 2.5 million people, or roughly 36 percent of the state’s population, have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As the phased vaccine rollout continues, health metrics show significant drops in cases and hospitalizations among older Massachusetts residents, and younger adults are now making up a higher percentage of new cases and hospitalizations.

Gov. Charlie Baker, a 64-year-old who is now among the 2.5 million people to have gotten a shot, said the state is expanding its vaccine appointment pre-registration system to also cover regional collaboratives in Amherst-Northampton and Marshfield. Baker has said he used that system himself to make his Tuesday appointment at the Hynes Convention Center mass vaccination site.

Reporting no major side effects from his first Pfizer dose, Baker said more than 1.5 million residents have signed up to get in line for a shot when they become eligible, and more than 800,000 of that group have been contacted with the chance to schedule an appointment.

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