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Public health officials confirmed 1,884 new cases of COVID-19 infections Thursday and announced five recent COVID-19 deaths as the number of people hospitalized with the virus and the state's positive test rate decreased slightly.

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In January, when the Baker administration announced a new pooled COVID-19 testing initiative for K-12 schools, Education Secretary James Peyser said technological advances enabled the state "to take our testing program to the next level."

BOSTON — The pandemic has caused major changes in employment, transportation, child care and myriad other areas. On Beacon Hill, policymakers are trying to decide how the state should prepare for a post-pandemic world.

BOSTON — The number of communities at high risk for COVID-19 more than doubled in the past two weeks amid mounting concerns about another surge of infections.

As of Monday, 1.2 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 across the state, Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday reported Thursday.

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APRIL 1 -- More than 600,000 people in Massachusetts have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 months, another marker crossed Thursday as the Department of Public Health reported 2,455 new confirmed cases.

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NEWBURYPORT — Many sanctuaries may still be closed due to COVID-19 concerns, but religious leaders have found new ways during the pandemic to connect with congregants and keep services available, whether online or outdoors.

AMESBURY — Thousands of people have received doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at local clinics over the past three weekends, but larger-capacity vaccination events could be coming soon.

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The Department of Public Health's projection of active COVID-19 cases crept above 30,000 on Sunday, reflecting the increase in new cases in Massachusetts that has drawn attention from health experts.

BOSTON — Local public health officials say they have been sidelined as the state shifts COVID-19 vaccines to large sites and regional collaboratives, causing delays and confusion among the elderly and other high-risk residents.

BOSTON — As child care centers struggle to recover from the pandemic, and parents search for options as they return to work, lawmakers are proposing an overhaul of the industry.

Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday said Thursday the city remained in the "green" low-risk category for COVID-19 transmission but she urged residents to stick with the safety protocols of wearing masks, social distancing and following state guidelines for crowds and restaurant capacity limits.

BOSTON — Nearly a million people in Massachusetts are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with the elderly, first responders and other high-risk groups among the first to get their shots. The rest of the state won’t have to wait much longer.

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AMESBURY — More than 200 volunteers helped 2,400 Massachusetts residents receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination over the weekend and those volunteers say they were happy to help.

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BOSTON -- Nearly one million people in Massachusetts are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with the elderly, first-responders and other high-risk groups among the first to get their shots. The rest of the state won't have to wait much longer.

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As Massachusetts marks one year since a state of emergency was declared and the severity of the pandemic became clear, we're wondering how people in Greater Newburyport are doing.

Twelve weeks into the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday a new vaccine appointment preregistration system his administration is launching Friday will minimize “some of the heat and some of the sting” the current booking system has generated for frustrated users.

BOSTON — Massachusetts had only reported about 30 coronavirus cases when Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency a year ago, a move that was followed by school and business closings and restrictions on travel and gatherings.

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MARCH 9 -- One year ago, on the last day before Gov. Charlie Baker declared the coronavirus a public health emergency, there was one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Massachusetts and 40 presumptive cases. It would be another two weeks before the cumulative number of cases topped 1,000.

With supply concerns in mind, area school superintendents are cautiously optimistic following the announcement that educators will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning next week.

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Teachers, early educators and school staff members will be able to sign up beginning March 11 for vaccination appointments at any vaccination site in the state and some mass vaccination sites will hold aside particular days to vaccinate educators, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday morning.

BOSTON — Primary care doctors are pushing for access to the COVID-19 vaccine, arguing that family physicians should be a key part of the state’s distribution plans.

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