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Massachusetts expanding vaccine preregistration locations

April 7, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts residents hoping to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments through the state website will have additional locations to choose from beyond the state’s seven existing mass vaccination sites, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday.

Starting this week, the state is adding two additional locations — the Amherst-Northampton Collaborative and the Marshfield Regional Collaborative — and will add more local health collaboratives to the site in coming weeks, Baker said.

So far, more than 1.5 million people have preregistered for vaccine doses.

“As more people become eligible we hope to see a continued increase in the supply we receive from the federal government because we have of tons of capacity we can put to work,” Baker said, adding that the state has the ability to administer two or three times as many shots as it is currently administering.

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By next week, people signing up for a shot through the state website will also have the opportunity to choose a location before proceeding to choose from available appointments, Baker said.

On April 19, anyone in Massachusetts who has not received a vaccine dose will be allowed to preregister.

Baker, who received his first dose on Tuesday, said he’s doing fine.

“I’m happy to report that I feel good,” the Republican said.

More than 1.5 million Massachusetts residents have already been fully vaccinated, most of them among the state’s most vulnerable.

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THE NUMBERS

The state’s confirmed death toll from COVID-19 has topped 17,000.

The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by about 2.3 on Wednesday, while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 21.

The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,014, while its confirmed caseload rose to nearly 612,000.

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

There were about 750 people reported hospitalized Wednesday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 180 in intensive care units.

The average age of those hospitalized fell to 61 — an indication of the success in vaccinating much older residents. There were an estimated 35,000 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.

There have been 9,012 probable or confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities.

More than 4.1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts, including more than 2.5 million first doses and more than 1.4 million second doses.

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FUNERAL COSTS

Those who have had loved ones die of COVID-19 may be able to apply for assistance with funeral costs, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said Wednesday.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced it will reimburse up to $9,000 in funeral expenses for those who lost a loved one to the coronavirus after January 20, 2020.

Galvin said he’s posted information on eligibility and how to apply for the funeral costs on his website, www.sec.state.ma.us.

“So many people have lost loved ones to this pandemic and coping with the loss of a family member is hard enough without needing to worry about the costs of laying that person to rest,” Galvin said in a written statement.

Reimbursement may be available even if the funeral has already been paid for, he said.