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May 14, 2021

Baker announcing further easing of COVID restrictions this week

Photo | Pat Greenhouse/Boston Globe/Pool via State House News Service Gov. Charlie Baker arrives at Ledger Restaurant and Bar in Salem.

The most recent step in the Massachusetts' gradual emergence from pandemic restrictions came Monday, when stadium capacity limits increased and amusement parks were cleared to reopen. And while the next date on the reopening timeline -- for a reopening of bars and higher gathering limits -- wasn't set to come until May 29, Gov. Charlie Baker now plans to announce an update this week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's loosened mask rules for fully vaccinated people prompted Rhode Island to accelerate its reopening, and in Massachusetts, Baker tweeted Friday that he'd "be updating our reopening plans early next week."

The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Massachusetts surpassed 7 million on Friday, and more than 3.1 million Bay Staters have now gotten either both Pfizer or Moderna shots or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Baker also said in his tweet that Massachusetts "is on track to vaccinate more than 4 million residents soon." As of Friday, a total of 3,892,504 people had gotten their first Moderna or Pfizer dose, and another 229,901 received the J&J shot, for a combined total of 4,122,405 to have at least started the vaccination process.

Public health officials reported 337 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the first daily case number below 400 since Sept. 28 and the lowest since Sept. 22. The new cases came from 39,481 tests, representing a positive rate of about 0.85 percent. The state's seven-day average positive rate ticked down slightly to 1.14 percent, and the Department of Public Health announced 18 recent deaths linked to COVID-19 and said 376 patients were hospitalized statewide with the respiratory disease.

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