BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts will begin expanding walk-up COVID-19 vaccination opportunities as it tries to make it easier for residents to protect themselves against the disease.
Beginning Monday, four additional mass vaccination locations will begin offering walk-up shots, Gov. Charlie Baker said at a Wednesday press conference.
Mass vaccinations sites offering walk-up vaccinations include the Hynes Convention Center and the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, the Doubletree Hotel in Danvers, the former Circuit City in Dartmouth, the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, and the Natick Mall.
Those interested in finding more about walk-in vaccination opportunities can visit the state’s vaccine finder website.
“Walk-up options will certainly make it easier for people to access vaccines,” Baker said.
Baker said other sites are already offering vaccinations without appointments.
“There’s walk-up traffic going on in a bunch of different locations,” the Republican added. “What we are going to do is to continue to try to make this as readily available as we possibly can to people and see how far we can get with that.”
Baker said Massachusetts has already surpassed the goal set by President Joe Biden to vaccinate 70% of adults by July 4.
Baker also said that with more than 800 vaccination locations throughout the state, Massachusetts is on track to vaccinate more than 4 million residents by June.
More than 6.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Massachusetts, including nearly 3.7 million first doses and 2.5 million second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
There have been about 214,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered.
More than 2.7 million people have been fully immunized.
FIELD HOSPITAL CLOSING
A COVID-19 field hospital at the DCU Center in Worcester is expected to close for good within the next couple of weeks, UMass Memorial Health Care said in a statement.
The 220-bed field hospital was first set up last spring, then reopened in December to treat patients during a second surge of coronavirus cases. It stopped taking new patients in March but remained in place and ready to reopen in the event of another surge.
Now it is being demobilized.
It treated more than 1,000 people, operator UMass Memorial Health Care said in a statement Tuesday.
“It has had a definite positive impact on COVID patient care in the region,” the statement said. “This includes caring for the nearly 650 patients that were treated there during the second wave and serving as a relief valve for hospitals in the region that would have been challenged to create more surge space without its existence.”
HOUSE PARTY CRACKDOWN
Two Boston city councilors have proposed fines of up to $3,000 for large house parties that violate pandemic protocols.
The late-night parties are becoming increasingly common and are creating a nuisance in some city neighborhoods, councilors Michael Flaherty and Ed Flynn said Tuesday.
Police in South Boston received 600 calls for disturbances during one recent weekend, they said, and the current threat of a $500 fine for violating pandemic protocols is not enough.
They are proposing fines as high as $1,000 for the first offense, $2,000 for the second, and $3,000 for the third.
VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS
The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 increased by more than 880 on Wednesday 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 17,306 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to nearly 650,000.
The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.
There were 485 people reported hospitalized Wednesday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 135 in intensive care units.
The average age of those hospitalized was 60. There were an estimated 21,300 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.