BOSTON (AP) — The number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 98 on Friday, pushing the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 14,154 since the start of the pandemic.
The number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased by more than 2,700 and its confirmed caseload rose to more than 491,000.
The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.
There were fewer than 1,800 people reported hospitalized Friday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 400 in intensive care units.
The average age of those hospitalized was 70. There were an estimated more than 74,000 people with current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.
The number of probable or confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities topped 8,000 — rising to 8,030.
Funeral home workers
A group of more than 100 lawmakers who asked Gov. Charlie Baker two weeks ago to prioritize funeral home workers for COVID-19 vaccines say they are frustrated that they have yet to hear back from the administration.
“I’m very stunned there has been no reply,” state Rep. Sally Kerans, D-Danvers, told The Telegram & Gazette for a story Thursday.
Funeral workers, she said, are the only “COVID-facing” professionals left off the state’s phase one vaccination list.
“I can’t help, but think there’s a bias toward end-of-life care somewhere in the administration,” said C.R. Lyons, president of the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association.
Funeral workers often have to travel to high-risk areas of nursing homes and hospitals to collect virus victims. There have been a number of situations where smaller funeral homes have had to “essentially shut down,” following outbreaks among staff, Lyons said.
A spokesperson for the state COVID-19 Command Center in a statement last week said the current vaccine distribution plan is based on the recommendations of an advisory group made up of health professionals, community leaders and local officials.
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