DPH officials announce 8 new deaths from COVID-19, 5,752 total number of confirmed cases in Mass.

DPH officials announce 8 new deaths from COVID-19, 5,752 total number of confirmed cases in Mass.
A passerby walks through a nearly empty intersection near the Old State House, center right, in downtown Boston, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Many people are working from home in the state, while many businesses have closed indefinitely out of concern about the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (Steven Senne/AP)

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As the World Health Organization declares the novel coronavirus spread a global pandemic and Governor Baker announced a state of emergency in Massachusetts, the effects are starting to be felt around the state.

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Monday, March 30

18 MBTA employees test positive for COVID-19

An MBTA spokesperson told Boston 25 News 18 transit employees have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Among them are:

1 Heavy Rail Motor person

10 Bus Operators (Part and full time)

1 Streetcar Motor person

1 Rail Yard Motor person (not passenger service)

1 Bus Inspector

1 Subway Supervisor

1 Fare Equipment Technician

1 Construction Division Inspector

1 Rail Repairer

Six Keolis employees test positive for coronavirus

Six commuter rail employees have reported positive tests for COVID-19, according to Keolis spokesperson Tory Mazzola. Three employees work on track maintenance team, two work with transportation and one is a mechanic. All employees will be cleared by a medical professional before returning to work.

Four residents at Revere senior facility die after contracting COVID-19, one other death also reported

Four residents at the Jack Satter House senior living facility in Revere have died from COVID-19; a fifth death was also announced but the cause of death has not yet been confirmed. Health officials say 13 residents in total contracted the novel coronavirus, where the eight other residents are currently hospitalized.

2 Market Basket employees in Chelsea test positive for COVID-19

Two employees at the Market Basket location in Chelsea have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement given to Boston 25 News from the supermarket chain.

“The health and safety of our Associates and that of our customers are our highest priority and we are moving swiftly to take all of the appropriate measures and ensure that we can continue to serve our customers in good health,” said Justine Griffin, spokesperson for Market Basket. “In addition to Market Basket’s heightened disinfection program, we brought in a specialized cleaning crew who cleaned and disinfected the store over the weekend.”

Market Basket said they are following the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and the Chelsea Board of Health.

Mass. DPH announces 8 more COVID-19-related deaths, 797 new cases bring total in state to 5,752

Health officials announced on Monday eight more people have died from COVID-19 and 797 new cases have been reported. The total number of positive cases in the state is now at 5,752, where 42,793 people in total have been tested since the outbreak started. Currently, 56 people in total have died from the virus.

According to Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston has reported a total of 825 cases in the city, 90 more than there were on Sunday. Walsh also announced 55 people who contracted the virus have fully recovered.

Somerville officials issue residential and commercial eviction moratorium

Mayor Joseph Curtatone and the Somerville Board of Health announced on Monday an emergency order establishing a moratorium on evictions in the city, which applies to both residential and commercial evictions. The order also temporarily halts in-person showing of rental units to prospective new tenants as well as any non-emergency entry into a unit during the emergency.

Somerville current has a total of 49 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, where nine have recovered so far.

“Everyone is safest at home right now, but that is a meaningless message if you are facing eviction. Every level of government must act now to ensure that each of us has the safe harbor of home as this health crisis deepens. Cities can’t control eviction laws and courts, but in Somerville, we can and will stop the physical eviction of both our residents and local businesses,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone.

Resident at Briarwood Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center tests positive for COVID-19

An 88-year-old resident at the center has tested positive for coronavirus. He was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of respiratory illness on Friday.

He is now back at Briarwood receiving care and no other residents have tested positive.

One staff member has also tested positive and other employees that have been exposed have self-quarantined.

Military Friends Foundation launches relief fund to help military and their families

Military Friends Foundation, a non-profit organization helping military families, announced it’s launching the COVID-19 Massachusetts Military Family Relief Fund and pledging $100,000 to support these efforts.

Collaborating with Massachusetts’ Department of Veterans’ Services and the Massachusetts National Guard, the fund will provide financial support to military families and those of fallen service members.

Initially it will give grants for essential financial help so families can buy groceries, health supplies and other necessities, also giving money for personal protective equipment (PPE) for service members.

The relief fund is asking for public support to raise an additional $100,000 for these families, with 100% of donations going to them.

“We are aware of the enormous challenges our service members and their families will face in the coming weeks and months,” said Sarah Sweeney, Army wife and executive director of Military Friends Foundation. “During this pandemic, our warriors are standing on the frontlines fighting this medical war. Our mission is to stand up and support them."

Governor Charlie Baker has activated National Guard members to provide critical community support, including transporting supplies and setting up medical sites for screening and care.

“Many of these soldiers and Airmen, as members of the broad and diverse workforce in Massachusetts, are feeling the impact of layoffs and business closures on their family income,” said Frank Magurn, Brigadier General of the Massachusetts National Guard. "This fund will provide meaningful support as they prepare to respond to the needs of the Commonwealth.”

The fund is open to active military, National Guard, Reserves and families of fallen service members who live in Massachusetts. The non-profit was established after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to provide direct aid to military members and their families.

If you would like to donate, visit https://www.militaryfriends.org/ or the organization’s GoFundMe page.

Sunday, March 29

Cape Cod police officer tests positive for COVID-19

Cape Cod police officer tests positive for COVID-19

A police officer on Cape Cod has tested positive for COVID-19. He recently posted a video to Facebook, encouraging everyone to stay home – a message that’s been viewed more than 6,000 times.

Nicholas Giammarco is a police officer, a local photographer and now one of nearly 150 people on Cape Cod who have tested positive for coronavirus.

And while Officer Giammarco is in good spirits in quarantine, he does have a lot of serious takeaways from this experience that he wants people to learn from.

The Cape Cod police officer told Boston 25 News that while he had minimal interaction with people, he still somehow contracted the coronavirus.

“I began with a cough, I had some body aches, I had a consistent headache throughout the day, and later on that evening I developed a low-grade fever,” he said.

To avoid putting his law enforcement co-workers at risk, he called a doctor and was told to get tested immediately. On March 25, his test results for COVID-19 came back positive.

Officer Giammarco is now encouraging others to stay at home and take the disease, seriously.

“Just stay home,” he said. “At this point it’s immeasurable how many lives we can save if we just stay home and slow the spread.”

Celtics’ Marcus Smart announces he no longer has COVID-19

Celtics’ guard Marcus Smart announced on his social media that he has fully recovered after his bout with COVID-19. Smart was diagnosed with the coronavirus 10 days ago on March 19 after being tested a few days prior.

President Trump extends federal social distancing guidelines

President Donald Trump announced on Sunday evening that he will be extending the federal social distancing guidelines to April 30.

The guidelines recommend people stay home for another 30 days amid the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the elderly and those with preexisting conditions.

The original 15-day guideline was slated to end near the beginning of April.

Mass. DPH announces 4 new COVID-19 deaths and 698 new positive cases

Nearly 700 more people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and four have died in Massachusetts, according to the latest numbers from the state’s Department of Public Health.

In Massachusetts, 39,066 people have been tested for COVID-19, 4,955 tested positive and 48 people have died.

Of the four most recent deaths announced there was an Essex County man in his 80s, a Middlesex County woman in her 90s, a Berkshire County woman in her 80s, and a Norfolk County woman in her 70s.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh addressed increased care and needs for people experiencing homelessness

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spoke at Boston City Hall on Sunday, saying the city had its first confirmed case of coronavirus in its homeless community, but that the city has been preparing for the moment that that happened.

“We’ve built one of the strongest support systems in the country for people experiencing homelessness,” Walsh said.

He announced hundreds of new beds in three new locations that will help those who are homeless, which will greatly ease the burden on local shelters, he added.

Suffolk University will be repurposing a dorm to provide at least 172 new beds to help reduce congestion and increase social distancing in existing shelters in Boston.

Also repurposing is a former hospital on Commonwealth Ave. in Brighton. It will have 70 more beds and open within days. Walsh said he expects more locations in the coming days.

People in need of homeless services should not go directly to Suffolk or the hospital site, he said, but rather one of the existing shelters which will remain open. Those include the Pine Street Inn, Boston Rescue Mission and Rosie’s Place, among others.

In addition to those, former Boston Medical Center building Newton Pavilion, with a capacity of 250 beds, will temporarily reopen.

Walsh said the city has conducted regular deep-cleaning and sanitizing efforts at existing shelters and is also staying in close contact with people who were formerly homeless. Supportive service agencies across Boston have been conducting wellness checks by phone to more than 1,000 clients who have been housed in the past year alone.

“Protecting our city is a long-term effort,” Walsh said.

Saturday, March 28

Tito Jackson announces positive COVID-19 test

Former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson has tested positive for COVID-19. Jackson shared the news on social media, reminding everyone to stay home to stop the spread.

He says he is quarantining at home and is isolating himself from family members.

9 more COVID-19 deaths, 1,017 new cases announced by Mass. DPH

Nine more people have died and over 1,000 more people have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Saturday’s latest numbers from the state’s Department of Public Health.

In total, 44 people in Massachusetts have died from COVID-19, while the 1,017 new cases of the virus bring the state’s known infection total to 4,257 cases. Also, 5,678 more people have been tested for COVID-19, bringing the state total to 35,049.

The following is a list of the newly released COVID-19 fatalities in Massachusetts:

  • Essex County female in her 60s
  • Suffolk County female in her 80s
  • Worcester County male in his 80s
  • Norfolk County female in her 80s
  • Hampden County male in his 70s
  • Hampden County male in his 80s
  • Norfolk County male in his 80s
  • Worcester County female in her 50s
  • Hampden County female in her 90s

Gov. Charlie Baker visits the Red Cross in Dedham, says blood donations are essential

Because many places where blood drives typically take place are closed amid the coronavirus outbreak -- colleges, universities, businesses -- there have been fewer blood donations in Massachusetts and across the county.

As of Friday night, more than 220 blood donations have been cancelled in Massachusetts, resulting in more than 6,100 fewer donations available for Massachusetts hospitals, according to Holly Grant, CEO of the American Red Cross in Massachusetts.

But Grant said the Red Cross is working around the clock to add more safe opportunities “so that everybody who wants to give blood is able to do so."

Every unit of blood can save up to three lives, she added.

Gov. Charlie Baker echoed Grant’s statement, calling blood donations “an essential service.” He visited the Red Cross location in Dedham on Saturday.

President Trump approves Massachusetts disaster declaration

President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for the Commonweath of Massachusetts and ordered federal assistance to help with recovery in areas impacted by COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.

The declaration approved on Friday makes federal funding available for crisis counseling for people and for commonwealth, tribal, and eligible local governments and some private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, the White House said.

Friday, March 27

Reading officials report two police department employees have tested positive for coronavirus

Reading health officials were notified by DPH that two Reading Police Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

The employees have been isolated since first displaying symptoms and are being supported and monitored according to public health guidelines.

Those who have been in close contact with the employees have also been notified.

Two residents at Charlwell House die after contracting COVID-19

A spokesperson for Charlwell House, a nursing facility in Norwood, told Boston 25 News that two residents have died after contracting the novel coronavirus.

Due to privacy concerns, the facility has not identified the residents.

More than 110 current residents and 100 staff members occupy the facility and management assures they are taking all the necessary steps and precautions to both prophylactically treat residents who came in contact with the residents who passed away as well as sanitize the facility.

“We have paid strict adherence to all protective guidance regarding our residents, including all federal and state advisories,” the spokesperson went on to say. “We have moved with an abundance of caution to limit contact between staff and residents themselves, knowing that many of our residents are at very high risk. We have assured appropriate social distancing, moved beds, assured rooms and residents affected are isolated and strict adherence to CDC and DPH infection control protocols are in place and continually updated and staff reeducated in real time. While we believe that moving residents from our facility poses a greater risk than remaining in place, we will, of course, abide by the wishes of the residents and their families.”

Mass. Public Health Commissioner tests positive for COVID-19

On Friday, Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel announced she tested positive for COVID-19. According to Bharel, she was tested on Thursday night and received her results back on Friday evening.

“As the public health commissioner and an essential state employee, I have been vigilant about practicing social distancing from my colleagues and members of the public,” said Bharel. “My symptoms so far have been mild. I have notified my appropriate close contacts and will rest and recuperate at home, while continuing to carry out my work responsibilities remotely. The Department of Public Health offices will be thoroughly cleaned over the weekend.”

Governor Baker’s office has not commented on whether he will test for the virus or not, but have said the governor is asymptomatic.

ICE releases at-risk detainees

After the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this week, ICE agents have released two detainees described to be “at-risk” for the deadly COVID-19 virus.

State announces 10 new coronavirus-related deaths

New numbers released Friday by the state health department show there have been ten new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 35.

Among those, state health officials say, includes a man in his 60s from Berkshire County with preexisting conditions; three females in their 80s from Norfolk County; a female in her 90s from Berkshire County, a man in his 60s from Norfolk County; a female in her 90s from Franklin County, a man in his 80s from Middlesex County; a man in his 90s from Barnstable County; a female in her 90s from Bristol County.

There have been 823 new cases since Thursday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the state to 3,240 cases. A total of 29,371 people have been tested.

Mayor Walsh: Boston’s first COVID-19 testing site opens Saturday

In a news conference Friday afternoon, Mayor Marty Walsh announced the city’s first COVID-19 testing site will open Saturday, March 28 at Suffolk Downs in East Boston. It’s reserved for EMTs, firefighters and police officers.

He also stressed that not enough people are staying home and practicing social distancing. He says too many people are still playing pick-up sports games at local parks and gathering in large groups.

Walsh also said that 477 Boston residents have tested positive for COVID-19; up 113 from Thursday.

Baker: Visitors coming into Mass. should self-quarantine for 14 days

Governor Charlie Baker said during a news conference Friday that all travelers coming into Massachusetts should self-quarantine for 14 days. Baker says this affects people flying into Boston Logan Airport or coming into South Station. Instructions will be handed out at airports and train stations.

Health care workers and public safety workers are exempt.

State tax deadline extended to July 15

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo have announced an agreement to extend the 2019 state individual income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to July 15 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This income tax relief is automatic and taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms to qualify.

Thursday, March 26

RMV enforcing strict walk-in policy in all service centers open to the public

Taking social distancing advisories into consideration, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has announced that, effective Friday, March 27, they will be enforcing a strict no walk-in policy at it’s eight service centers currently open to the public.

The only transactions that will be processed at service centers are the ones that require in-person transactions, such as commercial driver’s licenses or permits, new registrations, out of state license conversions and new Mass. IDs.

Boston transportation officials announce temporary parking enforcement changes

In efforts to address the city’s transportation needs, Boston officials have announced a number of changes to help residents, specifically medical staff, in the response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The following updates to parking enforcement policies are in effect until further notice in the City of Boston:

Resident Parking

Residents with a valid resident permit sticker will be allowed to park in a metered or two-hour parking space, without having to adhere to the time limit or pay a meter fee, within their specific neighborhood.

For cars without the relevant resident permit parking sticker, standard time limit and meter requirements remain in place.

Street Cleaning

BTD has not been ticketing and towing for street cleaning, given challenges to finding alternative places to park in neighborhoods.

Inspection Stickers and Registration

BTD will not ticket for expired inspection stickers or registrations, given potential challenges for people to renew inspections and registrations at this time.

Parking Garages

To support the medical community, BTD has identified facilities offering free, reduced rate or reserved parking for medical professionals. To receive discounted parking, medical staff will need to present a hospital ID. You can find the list of participating facilities here.

BlueBikes

The City of Boston and its municipal partners of Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville are offering all hospital staff a free 30-day pass for our public bike share, Bluebikes. To learn more about how to sign up for the program, visit boston.gov .

Pick Up/Drop Off Zones for Small Businesses

To help small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, temporary pick up zones have been created in front of restaurants that have transitioned to takeout and delivery.

Takeout food pickup zones restrict parking to five minutes to increase convenience for the quick pickup and delivery of takeout food from restaurants, and provide adequate room for social distancing of six feet or more.

Restaurants that would like to request a temporary pick up zone can do so through boston.gov. Requests will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

10 new deaths reported in Mass., 2,417 confirmed cases

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, there have been ten new COVID-19 related deaths in the state of Massachusetts, bringing the state total to 25.

There are now 2,417 confirmed cases and 23,621 people have been tested.

Someone who stayed at the Pine Street Inn tests positive

A homeless individual who recently stated at the Pine Street Inn, among other Boston-area shelters, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement released by the Pine Street Inn.

That person has been hospitalized and the shelters involved are working to track others who may have been in close contact with that person.

“For weeks, we have been preparing for this eventuality and we are continuing to implement measures to minimze the spread of COVID-19 among individuals experiencing homelessness,” the organization said in a statement.

Pine Street Inn officials say they have been screening every guest prior to entering the shelter to identify anyone who may be at risk for spreading the disease.

Gov. Chris Sununu issues stay at home order

New Hampshire’s government has ordered all residents to stay home and has made the decision to shutter all non-essential business in the state.

According to his order, all businesses that have not voluntarily closed already must shut down by noon Friday.

Unlike Baker’s ‘stay-at-home advisory’ in Massachusetts, Sununu has worded his as an order. It’s unclear what that means in terms of enforcement.

Gov. Charlie Baker files disaster declaration for federal money

In an afternoon update from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and the Department of Public health, Baker announced he had filed a federal disaster declaration.

The declaration allows the Commonwealth to seek funds from the federal government to help alleviate the effects of the outbreak.

Baker also said the Newton Pavilion will serve to host homeless patients who become infected.

Mass. medical schools asked to graduate 4th-year medical students early

Massachusetts became the first state to ask medical schools to let fourth-year medical students graduate early.

According to a release from Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts’ Health and Human Services Secretary asked the deans of the state’s four medical schools to advance graduation to April.

All medical schools have agreed and Health and Human Services hope this will help expand the medical workforce in the Commonwealth in response to COVID-19.

Boston University Commencement postponed

Boston University is postponing its commencement originally scheduled for May 14 to May 17, 2020. The event will now be held in either late August or early fall.

More than 100 hospital workers in Boston test positive for COVID-19

Boston 25 News has learned more than a hundred Boston hospital workers have tested positive for coronavirus.

  • 45 healthcare workers at Brigham and Women's
  • 41 at Mass. General Hospital
  • 31 at Tufts Medical Center
  • 15 at Boston Medical Center

As of Monday, Boston Children's Hospital told us only one healthcare worker had been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Other hospitals like Beth Israel have declined to provide us with this data.

2 additional MBTA employees test positive for COVID-19

The MBTA was informed Wednesday afternoon two employees -- in addition to the three bus drivers reported Wednesday morning -- had tested positive for COVID-19, including one at the Southampton bus garage and one at the Orient Heights rail yard.

Wednesday morning, the T reported three bus drivers had tested positive. Officials say the agency immediately started maintenance protocols to clean and disinfect buses, work areas and equipment at the T’s Cabot bus facility.

The MBTA said it was following CDC guidance and notifying all employees who may have had close contact with those employees.

"We ask the public to keep our employees in their thoughts, and I continue to express my deep gratitude to the women and men of the MBTA workforce who are serving a vital purpose in combatting COVID-19,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “To ensure we can protect the health and safety of our workforce, we strongly urge essential travel only, and we will continue our enhanced protocols for cleaning and disinfecting all vehicles, equipment, and surfaces.”

The MBTA says it is following guidance from the CDC for ‘outbreak protocol.’ They have begun allowing rear door boarding on the Green Line and buses to allow for social distancing.

Chelmsford Market Basket employee tests positive for COVID-19

An employee at a Market Basket in Chelmsford has tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email from the store’s parent company.

That employee has not been at work since March 15, but the store is taking measures directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

A representative of the company said the store has contacted public health officials and the employee is home recovering in self-quarantine.

“The health and safety of our Associates and that of our customers are our highest priority and we are moving swiftly to take all of the appropriate measures and ensure that we can continue to serve our customers in good health,” said Justine Griffin, spokesperson for Market Basket. “In addition to Market Basket’s heightened disinfection program, we are bringing in a specialized cleaning crew overnight who will clean and disinfect the store.”

The company says stores have begun increasing disinfection at locations, focuing on high-touch surfaces including cash registers, counter tops, register belts, red baskets, shopping carriages, payment devices, touch pads, desks, door and drawer handles, phones and computers.

Wipes are available to customers for use on the baskets and the store is encouraging shoppers to keep a safe distance from others.

----

Wednesday, March 25

ACLU sues ICE to release detainees at risk of COVID-19

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts along with immigration attorneys have sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release two immigrants detained in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility.

In a release, the organization said the two people in civil detention are at high risk for serious illness or death should they contract COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions.

Rockland McDonald’s employee tests positive for coronavirus

An employee at a McDonald’s in Rockland has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the store’s owner Joseph Napoli.

“Our highest priority is to protect the health and well-being of our people. We recently learned that an employee at our restaurant in Rockland has tested positive for the coronavirus and is currently under medical care.
Joseph Napoli
As soon as we were notified of the confirmed case, we immediately closed the restaurant to conduct a thorough sanitization procedure as well as notify local public health authorities. Additionally, we identified and reached out to all restaurant staff who had been in contact with the employee who contracted the virus. These employees have been asked to self-quarantine at home for 14 days to ensure they remain healthy before returning to work.
Joseph Napoli
We have been in contact with the employee and are providing support during this time. Our people are the heart and soul of the McDonald’s family. We are keeping this employee in our thoughts for a fast and full recovery.”
Joseph Napoli

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley tested for COVID-19

According to Lina Francis, a spokesperson for Rep. Ayanna Pressley, “after experiencing flu-like symptoms, Congresswoman Pressley sought professional medical treatment out of an abundance of caution. She has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting test results.”

Four BPD officers test positive for COVID-19

On Wednesday, four Boston Police officers were confirmed to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Mass. DPH announces 4 more people have died from COVID-19, 679 new cases in Mass.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that four more people have died from COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The victims are a Norfolk County man in his 80s, a Barnstable County man in his 80s, a Worcester County man in his 70s and a Worcester County woman in her 70s.

The latest death announcements bring the state’s fatality total for COVID-19 to 15.

Additionally, Mass. DPH announced that there are now 679 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing the total to 1,838 cases.

In total 19,794 people have been tested for COVID-19.

Gov. Baker announces schools to remain closed through May 4

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced on Wednesday that Massachusetts schools will remain closed through at least May 4 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools had been set to re-open in April, but the new announcement will keep them closed until the first week of May at the earliest.

Rep. Seth Moulton self quarantines

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton announced on Wednesday that he will self-quarantine after developing flu-like symptoms last week. Moulton, who said he is not eligible for a COVID-19 test because his symptoms are minor, and his wife will both be quarantined.

“As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, I will follow my doctors’ direction and continue to stay home and self-quarantine until I hit seven days after my symptoms started to improve and I do not have a fever for 72 hours," Moulton said in the release. "Unless my symptoms take a turn for the worse, that would be this Saturday. This applies to Liz as well.”

Braintree USPS worker tests positive

A United States Postal Service worker at the service’s Braintree office has tested positive for COVID-19, officials confirmed to Boston 25 News on Wednesday afternoon.

3 MBTA workers test positive for COVID-19

3 MBTA workers test positive for COVID-19

Three MBTA bus operators have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the transit agency.

Officials say the agency immediately started maintenance protocols to clean and disinfect buses, work areas and equipment at the T’s Cabot bus facility.

Through the public health tracing process, public health officials alert close contacts of the individuals who tested positive and will provide them with instructions for self-quarantine. Under health information privacy laws, the MBTA is prohibited from providing identifying information about a particular employee’s medical status.
MBTA statement

"We ask the public to keep our employees in their thoughts, and I continue to express my deep gratitude to the women and men of the MBTA workforce who are serving a vital purpose in combatting COVID-19,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “To ensure we can protect the health and safety of our workforce, we strongly urge essential travel only, and we will continue our enhanced protocols for cleaning and disinfecting all vehicles, equipment, and surfaces.”

The MBTA says it is following guidance from the CDC for ‘outbreak protocol.’ They have begun allowing rear door boarding on the Green Line and buses to allow for social distancing.

The MBTA continues to support the guidance of public health officials in good hygiene practices, which include:

  • Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or the inside of your elbow;
  • Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water frequently and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable;
  • Trying not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth;
  • If you have a fever or feel sick, stay home and call your healthcare provider;
  • Additional information is available from the CDC online.

AG Healey: Online marketplaces not exempt from price gouging laws

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined a coalition of 33 other state attorneys general on Wednesday in an attempt to push online marketplaces like Amazon, Facebook, eBay and more to strengthen their efforts to combat price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a release from the attorney general’s office, price gouging has been rampant on online marketplaces during the outbreak of COVID-19. Attempts by those companies to curtail it have failed, Healey claimed.

“These companies need to step up their measures to stop price gouging on their online marketplaces immediately,” Healey said in the news release. “Price gouging of essential items like this has prevented health care workers and residents from getting what they need to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the virus.”

Due to the price gouging on online marketplaces, items like face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are, “still listed at exorbitant prices,” Healey said.

Healey and the other members of the coalition gave online marketplaces a series of suggestions to help fight against price gouging.

  • Hard caps on price increases during emergencies based on a 90-day price average
  • Trigger protections against price gouging before an emergency is officially declared
  • The creation of a complaint service for consumers to report price gouging

Plastic bag ban lifted for some Boston stores

Mayor Walsh issued a temporary executive order allowing essential businesses in Boston to use plastic bags and exempting requirements that businesses charge customers fees for bags. The exemption only applies to businesses listed as essential in Gov. Baker’s March 23 order that went into effect Tuesday.

“During this challenging time, we understand the retail establishments our residents rely on -- like grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants -- need added flexibility to best serve their customers,” Walsh said in a statement.

The city has also launched a website with resources for small businesses.

Latest quarantine stats to be released

The Department of Public Health is set to release new figures on the number of people in Mass. who are subject to quarantine and monitoring for potential symptoms of the coronavirus. Just over 2,000 people were subject to quarantine last week.

[Resources for people feeling anxiety over COVID-19 can be found here and here]