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Massachusetts expands homebound vaccination program

TD Garden has been permitted to host fans at 25% capacity since May 10.

Elise Amendola
This May 10 Bruins game was played before a crowd limited to 25 percent of TD Garden's capacity for hockey games.


BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts on Monday started bringing more coronavirus vaccines to people in their homes, rather than making them travel to a vaccination site.

The expansion of the state’s homebound vaccination drive that started in late March was announced Friday.

“This expansion will support continued vaccination of hard-to-reach populations and supports the administration’s goal to make COVID-19 vaccines readily available,” the state said in a statement.

Appointments can be made over the phone with translation services available in more than 100 languages. It may take up to five days to receive a callback, so anyone who can make it to a vaccination site was encouraged to do so.

The program is primarily using the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with the two-shot Pfizer vaccine available to people ages 12 to 17, according to the state.

More than 3.4 million Massachusetts residents had been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, according to the state Department of Public Health.

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TD GARDEN CAPACITY

Fans are being allowed to return to the TD Garden in greater numbers this weekend just in time for Bruins and Celtics playoff runs, arena management announced Monday.

Even though the arena will open to “near full capacity” Saturday, fans will still be required to wear face coverings and follow other COVID-19 safety protocols, management said in a statement.

“The Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics have confirmed with their respective leagues that TD Garden is permitted to align with city and state guidelines and return to near full capacity beginning May 29, 2021,” the statement said.

TD Garden has been permitted to host fans at 25% capacity since May 10.

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The Celtics have home playoff games against the Brooklyn Nets scheduled for Friday and Sunday.

The Bruins finished off their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Washington Capitals 3-1 on Sunday and their second-round opponent will be either the Pittsburgh Penguins or New York Islanders.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported nearly 190 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, pushing the statewide total to just under 660,000 since the start of the pandemic.

State health officials also added two confirmed COVID-19-related deaths, raising the state’s toll to 17,465.

An estimated 9,804 cases are active across Massachusetts, a number that’s dropped steadily in recent weeks.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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