ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (Informal)
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (No Calendar)

SHNS Coronavirus Tracker

MARCH 5, 2021.....Just less than a year after Massachusetts declared a state of emergency around the coronavirus, more than 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been put into people's arms here.

The Department of Public Health reported Friday that 2,005,800 vaccine doses have been administered in Massachusetts -- including 1,355,389 people who have gotten the first of two doses of the Moderna of Pfizer vaccines, 646,005 people who have received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer shots, and 4,406 people who have gotten the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That means there are 650,411 people in Massachusetts who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, an increase of 35,822 people from Thursday's report.

Massachusetts has administered about 83 percent of the 2,420,360 doses the federal government has delivered to the Bay State.

DPH also confirmed 1,677 new cases of COVID-19 from 106,263 tests and announced the recent COVID-19 deaths of 25 people. The state's total case count now stands at 556,307 people infected and the virus' death toll here is 16,322 people when counting the 330 people who have died with likely but not test-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The state's seven-day average positive test rate inched up slightly in Friday's report to 1.82 percent. The average has been at 2 percent or below for the last two weeks. There were 716 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, DPH said, which represented a drop of 25 patients from the prior day.

Teachers who have not already secured a vaccination appointment through the federal pharmacy program become eligible Thursday to vie with about 1 million other eligible residents for a relative handful of appointments at state vaccination sites. - Colin A. Young

  • Travel Restrictions Loosened for Three States: Starting Saturday, the list of states Massachusetts subjects to mandatory travel restrictions will no longer stand at 48 out of 49. The Department of Public Health announced Friday that Missouri, Oregon and Washington will drop from the fully restricted list to the "lower-risk" designation, meaning that travelers arriving in Massachusetts from those three places will not need to fill out a travel form or face the same quarantine and testing requirements as those from other states. They join Hawaii and Puerto Rico as the only two other U.S. states and territories on Massachusetts's lower-risk list. - Chris Lisinski 3:59 PM Fri
  • Maine Adjusts Quarantine Requirements, Sets Bar Service Date: Effective immediately, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have been added to Maine's list of states exempt from the COVID-19 test or quarantine requirement there, Gov. Janet Mills announced Friday. While federal requirements related to international travel remain in effect, Maine has also changed its policy, effective immediately, to exempt those who have either recently had COVID-19 or been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of their state of origin, from the test or quarantine requirement. The governor's Moving Maine Forward plan also sets a target reopening date of March 26 for indoor service at bars. The plan also loosens gathering size and business capacity constraints. - Michael P. Norton 2:39 PM Fri
  • Hull Man Faces Fraud Charge Over CARES Relief: Federal authorities arrested a Hull resident Friday for allegedly submitting fraudulent documentation to receive small business loans through the CARES Act. Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Mendell's office said it would charge Shane Spierdowis, 30, with one count of wire fraud. Prosecutors allege that Spierdowis used false Social Security numbers and fraudulent tax forms to apply for and receive a $101,517 Paycheck Protection Program loan and an $89,900 Economic Injury Disaster Loan. For the PPP loan, prosecutors said Spierdowis provided a fraudulent corporate bank statement reflecting a balance of more than $220,000, but the statement was dated before the bank account opened. Mendell's office announced the charge alongside Frederick Regan, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service's Boston Field Office. - Chris Lisinski 1:42 PM Fri
  • Brookline Closes Test Site: Brookline officials closed their local COVID-19 testing site on Thursday, saying the CARES Act funding they'd use to operate the clinic "has been depleted" and that the number of daily tests had "dropped significantly in recent weeks." The town's public health department partnered with mPathy LLC in November to set up the test site for Brookline community members who had COVID-19 symptoms or were identified as close contacts of someone who tested positive. Originally slated to remain open through December, the clinic's operations were extended for several months and staff administered more than 9,700 tests in total and identified 385 positive cases. "Testing has remained a vital resource throughout the pandemic, allowing us to have an accurate picture of the prevalence of the virus in our community and thus, how to prevent any further spread," Dr. Swannie Jett, the town's health commissioner, said in a statement. "We encourage you to utilize the local testing sites going forward and to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your community." A press release from the town pointed residents to the state's free Stop the Spread test sites and locations in Brookline and Chestnut Hill operated by Mass General Brigham Urgent Care, Physician One Urgent Care and BIDMC. - Katie Lannan 9:45 AM Fri

Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 5 p.m. Friday.
New Confirmed Cases1,677
Total Confirmed Cases556,307
Total Deaths16,322
Full Vaccinations650,411

Of Interest

State House Takeout Podcast

The Mass. Almanac – free to subscribers through 2020 – includes up-to-date info on replacements in the Executive agencies, a quick reference to legislators not returning in 2021, and much more info on the people who make the government run.

Click here to learn more

State House News Service