Massachusetts heads into the weekend again on the precipice of another change in its COVID-19 response.

On Monday, six out of seven mass vaccination sites will start offering walk-in vaccines without appointments, a shift as the Baker administration increases its focus on more local efforts. A range of business and capacity restrictions are also set to loosen after the weekend.

More than half of the state’s adult population has now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and nearly a million other residents have gotten a first dose and are awaiting their second.

The Department of Public Health reported 881 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on Friday from 78,071 tests — a relatively high number of tests amid a gradual decline that Gov. Charlie Baker has linked to widespread vaccinations.

For the first time since early November, DPH’s estimate of active COVID-19 cases dropped below 20,000. The Department projects there are now 19,784 active cases across the state, a number roughly equivalent to the population of Bourne.

Hospitalizations dropped for the 10th straight day, landing at 459 in Friday’s report, 10 fewer than in Thursday’s report.

(Copyright (c) 2021 State House News Service.

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