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State prepares for latest vaccination effort as more than 5,600 new COVID-19 cases are reported

Foxborough Police Officer Brendan Fayles gets his coronavirus COVID -19 vaccination at Gillette Stadium Friday.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

The state reported more than 5,600 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 74 deaths Saturday, as officials prepare to provide vaccine shots in prisons and congregate care facilities starting Monday.

The latest step in the state’s vaccination effort includes about 94,000 eligible people in those facilities, including staff members, officials have said. It follows the launch of vaccination efforts for health workers in December and first responders like police and firefighters.

The state Department of Public Health’s latest coronavirus figures released Saturday brought the total number of confirmed cases to more than 444,000 in Massachusetts, and raised the death toll to 13,305.


More than 98,000 people were estimated to have active cases of the potentially deadly virus, according to the state health department Saturday, while nearly 2,200 confirmed coronavirus patients were in the hospital.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 23.6 million cases of the coronavirus across the US and more than 394,000 deaths.

The latest round of vaccinations in Massachusetts slated to begin Monday also includes people in group homes, residential treatment programs, domestic violence and homeless shelters, and some private special education schools that offer residential services, according to a statement from the Baker administration.

Congregate care residents and staff will have three options for vaccination, including using a mass vaccination site, the statement said. The state’s first such site is located at at Foxborough’s Gillette Stadium, the statement said.

Congregate care facilities can also seek state permission to administer vaccine themselves to residents and staff, or work with other medical providers like hospitals and pharmacies to administer vaccine doses, the statement said.

During a Wednesday press conference, Governor Charlie Baker said the decision to provide vaccine to the state’s inmates was based on public health.


About 4,500 public employees work in the correctional system, according to a statement from the Baker administration, with about 6,500 inmates and civilly committed persons.

“We made the decision early on that we were going to focus on what we consider to be populations that were most at-risk, and all the data and all the evidence makes it pretty clear that congregate care settings are at-risk communities, no matter how you define them,” Baker said.

Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

John Hilliard can be reached at