Central Massachusetts has not seen a drastic spike in COVID-19 cases since the state started reopening and for residents hoping things go back to normal soon, it's good news.

But UMass Memorial Health Care CEO, Dr. Eric Dickson, says the region isn't out of the woods yet.

"Our biggest concern now is the UK variant that is clearly in central Massachusetts and on the rise" he said. 

The UK variant of COVID-19 is twice as contagious as the standard form, making a possible third surge a concern. "We need a couple more months of the vaccine getting into the arms to make sure enough people are immune to stop all variants from getting ahold here" said Dr. Dickson.

More than two million doses of the vaccine have been delivered across the state, but there is still a ways to go.

"We need to get to about 10 million doses to get everyone done. So we are well into the vaccine program. It is definitely having a positive impact on the number of cases of COVID we are seeing" he said. 

Cases in central Massachusetts are now in line with the rest of the state and holding at a three percent positivity rate. "The number has been coming down slowly" Dr. Dickson explained. He says the new pre-registration process has made getting a vaccine appointment easier, but access to the vaccine is still the state's biggest obstacle.

"We have more capacity to deliver the vaccine than we have of the vaccine. Massachusetts is fourth in the country for percent of the vaccine that is received and delivered" said Dr. Dickson. UMass Memorial Health Care has not received or administered the Johnson and Johnson vaccine yet.

Dr. Dickson said the region is right where it wants to be as the reopening continues, but people should continue wearing masks and following protocol.