SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Long-term care facilities were hit hard by COVID-19, accounting for 35 percent of all deaths nationwide during the pandemic.

The 22News I-Team has been tracking cases specifically in long-term care facilities for months now and found out that cases have started to go down dramatically. More than one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the state so far.

We are now starting to see a decline in active cases, positive test rates, and the number of hospitalizations. In mid-January, there were 3,952 cases of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities in Massachusetts.

This was right after the first doses of vaccines started going into the arms of residents and staff members of long-term care facilities earlier in the month. By February 18, that number has been decreased by more than half with just 1,587 cases.

Cases per week at long-term care facilities

Oct. 29, 2020: 811

Nov. 6, 2020: 1,140

Nov. 27, 2020: 1,678

Dec. 17, 2020: 3,164

Dec. 24, 2020: 3,477

Jan. 7, 2021: 3,587

Jan. 14, 2021: 3,952

Jan. 21, 2021: 3,976

Jan. 28, 2021: 3,665

Feb. 4, 2021: 3,202

Feb. 11, 2021: 2,426

Feb. 18, 2021: 1,587

The Massachusetts Senior Care Association told 22News as of February 18, the 7-day rolling average of new cases among residents and staff in the state’s long-term care facilities is now 27, compared to May 2020 when the 7-day rolling average was 426 cases.

Since May of 2020, there has been a 94 percent reduction in daily infections and an 87 percent reduction in daily deaths. 

Baystate CEO and President Dr. Mark Keroack explained this drop is due to several factors, including people getting their vaccine and people who have already gotten the virus.

“You’re talking about a lot of people who have been exposed to the virus who have protective immunity of some kind,” Dr. Keroack said. “I believe that, plus the more consistent use of masks and social distancing, is accounting for the rapid drop that we’re seeing.”

Dr. Keroack said he believes we could see restrictions start to ease sometime this summer, “That’s what gives me optimism that we may actually have something approaching a normal summer.”