First identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the new virus officially called COVID-19 has been quickly spreading to all corners of the world as officials rush to contain the outbreak.
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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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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said that as of 10:45 a.m. today, 799 patients had been tested by the Massachusetts State Public Health Lab. Yesterday, the number was 475, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.
Clinicians are required to only submit one nasal swab, rather than the previous requirement to submit both nasal and throat swabs, according to the statement. With this change in clinical testing protocols, the State Lab’s testing capacity will increase to approximately 400 patients a day, up from 200 patients a day.
The city was told that a third Framingham resident has tested positive for the virus. They say the resident is in isolation at home and isn’t related to two previous positive cases in the town.
Following advice of public health officials to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, South Boston bars and restaurants will be closed today as part of a voluntary agreement, according to Massachusetts State Senator Nick Collins.
Collins posted on his official Facebook page writing, “Thank you to Mayor Walsh, my fellow South Boston elected officials and neighbors, the Licensing Board and license holders in South Boston for working with us and taking these sound proactive measures to protect the public’s health. We are all in this together and it’s imperative now that we all do all that we can to keep our communities safe.”
Here’s a list of establishments that have agreed to voluntarily close on March 15:
- Fat Baby
- The Junction
- The Playwright
- Roza Lyons
- Back Yard Betty’s
- Cambria Hotel (will service hotel guests only)
The Cape’s first confirmed case of coronavirus has affected a spouse of a staff member at Barnstable Community Innovation School, according to a release by Barnstable Public Schools. That staff member, whose last day of work was March 6, is symptomatic, in self-quarantine, and undergoing testing.
BPS recommends that all staff and students from Barnstable Community Innovation School quarantine for at least the next few days while awaiting test results. A full quarantine would be through March 20.
Barnstable Community Innovation School is immediately closed to all staff, and will undergo deep cleaning this week.
All Barnstable Public Schools are closed for at least two weeks and will undergo deep cleaning beginning the second week.
The grocery store chain released a statement saying it’s continuing to "prioritize the safety and well-being of our customers and associates.”
Because of such high demand for groceries and so many stores having shortages, most locations are changing their hours to 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. starting March 16 until further notice. This is so associates can unload deliveries and restock shelves. Check your local location as there may be some exceptions.
Also because demand is so high, pickup services are temporarily suspended and home deliveries may be delayed as associates need to shock shelves. Pickup services will resume once more product is available.
Stop and Shop said it is continuing to maintain high levels of hygiene and sanitation, wiping down checkout areas including the belts and pin pads.
The hospital released a statement Sunday morning saying it was “inevitable that health care workers will be infected, as is now the case at the Brigham.” They said they are in the process of contacting patients and staff who may have been exposed.
They have been in close contact with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission.
“We will continue to follow their and CDC’s guidance, as well as the advice of our own infectious diseases experts as the situation continues to evolve,” they said in a statement.
“The Brigham Health community has been preparing for this eventuality and has taken every precaution to protect our patients, their loved ones and our staff during this unprecedented pandemic.”
One healthcare professional at Mass. Eye and Ear has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. The hospital told Boston 25 News that an employee there had been exposed to COVID-19.
It was not mentioned what position the person held at the hospital, only that he-or-she was a “healthcare professional.” Mass Eye and Ear released the following statement to Boston 25 News:
“As Coronavirus spreads across the globe, it has become inevitable that health care workers will be exposed to COVID-19, as is now the case for a Mass. Eye and Ear healthcare professional. Mass. Eye and Ear is reaching out to patients and fellow staff who may have come in contact with this individual, who is at home and isolated. The entire Mass. Eye and Ear community has been prepared for this and taken every precaution possible to protect patients, providers and staff, including use of personal protective equipment, reducing non-urgent patient visits, limiting visitors, and implementing social distancing for essential staff. Mass. Eye and Ear is deeply committed to providing safe and high quality care to patients and will continue to do so throughout this public health emergency.”
The hospital did not say at which location that employee worked at, but did say he-or-she has been tested and is in isolation.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has suspended all campus research, according to a report from The Tech, an MIT student news outlet. The only research that will still be allowed to continue on the school’s campus is work that will help the understanding of and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Massachusetts Department of Health announced on Saturday that there are now 15 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing the Commonwealth’s total to 138.
Out of those 138 cases, 19 have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the remainder are presumptive positive cases confirmed by Mass. DPH.
On Friday, 18 cases had been confirmed by the CDC with 123 total cases in Massachusetts at that time.
The first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Barnstable County has been announced in a patient who was admitted to a Cape Cod hospital, according to Cape Cod Healthcare. That positive case was confirmed by the Massachusetts Department of Health.
That patient will remain hospitalized until they are stable enough to return home for the remainder of their quarantine, Cape Cod Healthcare announced. All staff who have come into contact with that patient are being monitored.
The City of Worcester has announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the city. The patient is currently in isolation and is being monitored by the Department of Health. According to city officials, the confirmed case is related to the late-February Biogen conference that took place in Boston.
Currently, five other people are awaiting testing for COVID-19 in Worcester.
The city also announced that the Worcester Public Library will be closed starting at the end of the day Sunday.
The Worcester County Superintendents Association has announced additional school closures for nearly two dozen districts in the county, according to a release from the association. The following schools will be closed for one week and are set to reopen on March 23:
- Ashburnham Westminster Regional School District
- Fitchburg Public Schools
- Berlin-Boylston Regional
- Grafton Public Schools
- Leicester Public Schools
- Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
- Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District
Additionally, the following schools will be closed for two weeks, with a planned reopening date of March 30:
- Assabet Valley Regional Vocational School District
- Blackstone-Millville Regional School District
- Dudley-Charlton Regional School District
- Gardner Public Schools
- Lunenburg Public Schools
- Maynard Public Schools
- Millbury Public Schools
- Narragansett Regional School District
- Nashoba Regional School District
- North Brookfield Public School District
- Oxford Public School District
- Quabbin Regional School District
- Tantasqua Regional & Union 61 Districts
- Webster Public School District
- West Boylston Public Schools
- Winchendon Public Schools
The Regional District will be closed from March 15 to 29. The superintendent had closed schools March 13 to 15 for a deep cleaning of the building and the plan was to reopen on March 16, but that’s changed.
Marblehead Public Schools will be closed through March 27. Admins and 12-month staff should report on Monday, March 16.
All schools in the district will close for a minimum of two weeks, March 16 to 27.
During a news conference Saturday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced the creation of a new coronavirus Response Command Center. Marylou Sudders, Health and Human Services Secretary, will lead the response. The Command Center will be the Commonwealth’s single point of strategic decision-making and coordination for the Administration’s response to coronavirus.
The Command Structure will allow experts to make advances on working to expand lab capacity for testing, planning quarantine operations, and coordinating communication and guidance across government, among others, according to a release from the state.
Baker said that the Department of Public Health will post new testing data every Wednesday. As of Friday, March 13, the lab has tested 475 patients.
It was also announced at the news conference that for patients on Mass Health, the state will allow 90-day prescriptions and early refills.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to temporarily suspend operations at Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino. It anticipates that the gaming floor will close to patrons at 5:59 a.m. on Sunday, March 15.
Brookline Public Schools, The Soule Early Childhood Education Center, Eliot After School Program, Brookline Senior Center and Brookline Public Library buildings will be closed for two weeks, through at least March 27.
As part of the closure, all senior center, school, library and recreation activities, including sports, are cancelled.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced another presumptive positive COVID-19 test in the state. The patient, who is the seventh COVID-19 case in the state, is an adult female from Rockingham County.
The New Hampshire DHHS has announced that the patient was at the Manchester branch of the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles on March 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10. That DMV is located on South Willow Street in the city.
The Tri-County Superintendents Roundtable, which is compromised of school districts and special education collaboratives in Massachusetts, announced that they will close 25 school districts and programs through March 22. The decision is an attempt to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 to those school communities.
The following schools and programs will be closed for at least the next nine days:
- ACCEPT Collaborative
- King Philip Regional
- Norfolk County Agricultural School
- South Middlesex Regional Vocational Technical School
- The Education Cooperative
- Tri-County Regional Vocational School
On Friday evening, Mayor Marty Walsh announced all Boston Public Schools will be closed starting on Tuesday, March 17 through April 27 due to coronavirus concerns.
The Worcester Public School district announced all schools will be closed until April 6 due to coronavirus concerns. The Durkin Administration Building will be open to employees and closed to the public but available by telephone.
Public schools in Swampscott will be closed from March 16 to 27 as coronavirus fears grow.
Stoneham officials announced that all public schools in the district would be closed for two weeks due to coronavirus concerns.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced that he has declared a State of Emergency in New Hampshire via Executive Order.
“This declaration will allow the state to remain on top of this rapidly evolving situation,” the governor said on his official Twitter account.
There were six COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire as of Thursday morning, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Of those six cases, two have been confirmed by the CDC while four are presumptive positive cases.
While no known cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the schools, Dartmouth Public Schools have announced they will be closing from March 16 to March 20 so buildings can be deep cleaned.
Quincy Public Schools will be closed for two weeks, with an anticipated re-opening on Monday, March 30. The last day of school for Quincy Public Schools students will be now be Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24 for staff.
In efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Cardinal O’Malley announced on Friday the Archdiocese of Boston would be suspending all daily and Sunday Mass services in an effort to help people practice social distancing. The decision goes into effect on Saturday, March 14.
The Cardinal has also issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass during this time to the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston. Catholics can still participate in the daily and Sunday Masses broadcast from the CatholicTV chapel.
15 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the Massachusetts Department of Health, bringing the total number of cases in the state up to 123. Out of those cases, 18 have been confirmed by the CDC.
From an address at the White House Rose Garden, President Trump announced he is declaring a national emergency in efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
Scituate Public Schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. Over the next two weeks, officials will reassess to determine if a longer closure is warranted.
Weymouth mayor Robert Hedlund announced a state of emergency for the town.
Gatherings of over 250 people have been banned in the Commonwealth until further notice, Governor Charlie Baker announced Friday afternoon.
“This impact is already being felt by everyone,” Baker said. “It’s hard to believe and certainly disappointing and upsetting for everybody. The time period we are in now marks an important moment in what we do to mitigate the spread of COVID-19."
Baker said waiting to act would cause a spike in cases and necessity for healthcare services that could overwhelm our system’s capacity.
This order does not apply to government buildings, typical office settings or restaurants - provided they should, when possible, encourage social distancing.
It also does not apply to normal operations at airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and centers, polling locations, grocery or retail stores, or other spaces where 250 or more persons may be in transit.
The state currently has 108 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.
The state lab is working 24 hours and can complete about 200 tests per day, the secretary of public health announced. She added that the state’s capacity for tests would increase to 400 per day over the weekend.
Two local, private labs have been approved by the federal government to complete testing. Baker said the state would have a number of tests that have been completed on Wednesday when the weekly data around quarantining is released.
The state has also launched a 2-1-1 line to offer information and frequently asked question answers.
Baker said the state will not mandate all schools close across the Commonwealth. But schools will shut down on a district-by-district basis.
“Shutting schools down completely does not appear to be the appropriate thing to do right now,” Baker said. “Right now, the Department of Public Health is recommending what I could call a surgical and fact-based approach on an individual school district level."
For more information on the order issued today, click here.
Social distancing is encouraged whenever possible.
The Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club made the announcement Friday morning.
Mayor Marty Walsh announces that the 2020 Boston Marathon will be postponed until Sept. 14.
Runners are advised not to attempt to run the marathon route in April. Streets will not be blocked off and medical staff will not be available.
Mayor Marty Walsh has issued a memo with infection control guidelines. These guidelines must be met to host an event in the city of Boston.
- Arrange for enhanced cleaning before and after at the event site.
- Provide hand sanitizer and tissues.
- Encourage hand washing and proper social etiquette (no handshaking, respecting personal space, and no hugging)
- Consider hosting your event virtually using teleconferencing platforms.
- Let your attendees know that you might need to postpone or cancel at the last minute and they should make contingency plans.
- Educate attendees at the event about proper precautions.
- Urge anyone feeling sick to stay home.
- Offer refunds for ticketed events to at-risk populations.
- Provide boxed meals instead of hosting buffets or meals that would be handled by many people.
Governor Baker, Mayor Walsh and BAA officials will hold a press conference on the status of the 2020 Boston Marathon.
Salem Public Schools will be closed for at least two weeks beginning Monday, March 16.
Starting on Friday, March 13, Norwood Public Schools will be closed at least through March 20. School officials will continue to monitor the situation to decide whether the school closure should be extended or shortened.
A person who visited Encore Boston Harbor Casino in Everett on Thursday, March 5 has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Mass. Gaming Commission. That person was asymptomatic at the time of their visit and was there for an hour while interacting with a few people.
The Mass. Gaming Commission says that the person diagnosed with COVID-19 interacted with seven people, according to their current determinations. Encore Boston Harbor has reportedly told the Mass. Gaming Commission that those individuals have all agreed to self-quarantine.
While schools throughout the Medfield Public School system will be closed on Friday, March 13, all non-essential and community events in the district will be canceled until further notice. Those include: Community events in school buildings, parent conferences, student performances, including the high school theatre, Band-o-Rama and String Fling, use of buildings by non-school groups and school-sponsored field trips in March.
Weston School officials have announced all public schools in the district will be closed for nearly a week and resume on March 18.
School updates will be posted to WestonSchools.org and sent out through the Weston Public Schools’ email notification system
Newton Public Schools will be closed starting on Friday, March 13, until officials decide when to resume classes. In a statement, the mayor said ther will be no school for the remainder of the week or next week and possibly longer depending on the status of the outbreak.
“The decision to close schools is an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. It will only be effective if the community also takes steps to practice self-isolation, monitor for any symptoms, and avoid large gatherings,” said Mayor Ruthanne Fuller. “We need all community members to do their part or the school closure will not be successful in limiting the spread of the virus.”
Local officials will be providing an update within the next week on whether to extend school closures or not.
Wayland school officials announced they will be closing all schools in the district from March 13 to 27. Classes will resume on March 30.
As coronavirus concerns continue to grow, Somerville and Medford Public Schools will be closed for the next two weeks. Malden School District officials have announced an unprecedented decision to close schools indefinitely starting on Friday, March 13.
Somerville schools will be closed for two weeks starting on March 16. During the closure, officials will reassess if they need to extend the timeframe.
All city buildings, which will be closed only to the public, will be closed for two weeks as well starting on March 16. Services essential to public health and safety – like police and fire responses, trash collection, and the 311 call center – will continue as normal while City offices are closed.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has canceled this week’s upcoming state championships for basketball and ice hockey, according to the association.
The high school spring sports season will also be delayed, the MIAA announced. It is now slated to start on March 30.
The NCAA has announced the cancellation of men’s and women’s basketball tournaments due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The decision comes one day after the association announced that games would be played in empty arenas.
The NCAA joins the NBA, NHL and MLB in canceling or suspending competitions due to concerns over COVID-19.
A group of superintendents in Middlesex County has announced that they will temporarily close their school districts for two weeks. Those districts are as follows: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Burlington, Lexington and Winchester. Those schools will be closed through at least March 27.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr. of Everett also announced on Thursday that Everett Public Schools will be closed for 30 school days, lasting until Monday, April 27.
Boston 25 News has also learned that Natick Public Schools will be closed next week beginning on Friday, March 13.
Here is the current breakdown of positive cases by county:
- 49 cases in Middlesex County
- 24 cases in Norfolk County
- 22 cases in Suffolk County
- 9 cases in Berkshire County
- 2 cases in Essex County
- 1 case in Worcester County
- 1 case with an unknown county location
Out of the 108 cases, 60 of them are in male patients while 48 are in female. Eighty-two of those cases are associated with the Biogen conference that took place in Boston in late February.
Out of the remaining 26, eight cases are associated with Berkshire Medical Center, five are travel-related cases, and 13 are under investigation.
Major League Baseball announced on Thursday afternoon that they will be suspending Spring Training games and will delay the beginning of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks amid COVID-19 concerns. The decision comes the same day the National Hockey League suspended its season and one day after the NBA did the same.
“MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible,” the league announced in their statement.
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the New England Aquarium and Boston’s Museum of Science have announced temporary closures to the general public for a three-week period.
The temporary closures by the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium join other public attractions in the area that are closed to the general population in response to COVID-19. The Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Harvard Art Museums are all closed to the public until further notice.
Boston 25 News has learned that a decision regarding the possible postponement of the Boston Marathon is likely to come within the next 24 to 48 hours. Officials have discussed potentially moving the race to the fall of 2020.
One day after the NBA suspended the remainder of its season, the National Hockey League has opted to take the same measure, suspending the remainder of their season, the league confirmed. The league’s public relations department made the official announcement after a conference call with the NHL’s Board of Governors.
The league cited the fact that many of its teams share facilities with NBA teams. The NBA suspended the remainder of their season on Wednesday night and two players have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.
The NHL’s release includes a statement from Commissioner Gary Bettman, which reads, in part:
The NHL’s regular season was slated to go through the beginning of April, with playoffs picking up then until the Stanley Cup is awarded in mid-June. There was no announced timeline on if or when the league’s season - regular season or playoffs - would resume.
Bettman did say that the league hoped to resume at some point this season.
“Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent, so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup,” Bettman said in his statement.
There are discussions being had about possibly postponing the Boston Marathon to the fall, Boston 25 News has learned.
No decisions have been made, but the mayor met with leaders of municipalities along the race route Wednesday at City Hall.
The Boston Marriott on Long Wharf, now considered the epicenter of Massachusetts’ outbreak of COVID-19, will close until further notice, according to the company.
The hotel was host to a meeting of Biogen leadership last month, to which most of Massachusetts’ positive coronavirus tests have been directly linked.
Salem Public Schools announced that Dr. Samantha Meier, principal of Salem High School, was in Paris, France over the weekend. Dr. Meier is undergoing a self-quarantine for 14 days.
Salem High School students were dismissed at 10:30 am and will remain closed Friday, March 12 so the school can do deep cleaning and disinfecting.
The National Hockey League advises teams not to conduct morning skates, practices ore team meetings as they prepare the next steps regarding coronavirus.
The Boston Celtics will undergo self-quarantine after playing against a Utah Jazz player who tested positive for coronavirus.
The team released a statement on Thursday afternoon clarifying the news, saying that is “unlikely that anyone from the team came into contact with [infected players] while they were contagious.”
The Celtics will have any players and staff who were in close contact with Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell - who have both tested positive for COVID-19 - in self-quarantine through the weekend. During that time, all players and certain staff will be tested for COVID-19.
The NBA has announced they will be suspending the entire rest of their 2020 season after two players reportedly contracted the virus.
President Trump has announced all travel from Europe to the United States will be suspended for 30 days starting Friday at midnight. These restrictions do not include the United Kingdom.
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