BOSTON (AP) — The number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 41 on Tuesday while the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased by more than 2,200.

The new deaths pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 13,930 and its confirmed caseload since the start of the pandemic to more than 481,000.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were more than 1,900 people reported hospitalized Tuesday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 430 in intensive care units.

The average age of those hospitalized was 71. There were an estimated more than 85,000 current active cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The number of probable or confirmed COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities rose to 7,944.

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TEACHERS UNIONS-VACCINE

Two statewide teachers unions are faulting Gov. Charlie Baker’s vaccine distribution plan, saying it will slow down a safe return to more in-person learning in public schools and colleges by pushing back the vaccination of educators by several weeks or more.

“The governor keeps pushing schools to reopen for in-person learning more quickly, regardless of the risks to staff and students, yet he has just made it much harder to do that safely,” Beth Kontos, president of American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, said in a statement Tuesday.

Merrie Najimy, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, also said the changes will make it harder to open schools.

“It is an outrage that once again the people impacted by this decision have to find out about it at a press conference at the same time as everyone else, with no advance notice,” she said.

Baker on Monday defended the state’s vaccine distribution plan saying the state decided to focus first on what he described as “hard to reach” and vulnerable populations.

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BOSTON BUSINESSES REOPENING

Gyms, movie theaters and museums are among the businesses in Boston that will be allowed to reopen Monday with a limited capacity, Mayor Marty Walsh said Tuesday.

The move will be the first part of a three-phase reopening plan that was made because of improving numbers around the spread of the coronavirus in the city, Walsh said at a City Hall news conference.

As of Jan. 17, the city was averaging more than 415 confirmed COVID-19 cases per day, down from a high of 590 earlier in the month, while the city’s positivity rate has fallen to 7.2%, down from nearly 9% in early January, officials said.

Reopening businesses will be limited to 25% capacity. All gatherings and events remain subject to current capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, the mayor said.

Walsh, President Joe Biden's nominee for labor secretary, also said a mass vaccination site at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in the city's Roxbury neighborhood is scheduled to open next week.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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