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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 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.
An employee at a McDonald’s in Rockland has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the store’s owner Joseph Napoli.
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.”
On Wednesday, four Boston Police officers were confirmed to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
"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.
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
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.
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.
Two Boston firefighters have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total number of firefighters in the state who contracted the virus to seven.
In a statement, Interim Boston Fire Commissioner Jack Dempsey said all members of the department have been trained on infectious disease response and members who may have been exposed to the virus are self-quarantining. Currently, 17 firefighters are self-quarantined at home.
During an update on the current state of coronavirus in the state, officials with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human services announced that a person with the virus traveled on four buses, all of which either stopped in or originated from Boston.
The following Concord Coach Lines buses were affected:
• 3/11/20: 3:15 AM bus from Concord, NH – Boston Express Londonderry – South Station – Boston Logan Airport
• 3/13/20: 5:40 PM bus from Boston Logan Airport – South Station – Concord, NH – Tilton – Plymouth – Lincoln – Littleton
• 3/14/20: 5:00 AM bus from Concord, NH – Boston Express Londonderry – Boston Express Salem – South Station – Boston Logan Airport
• 3/16/20: 1:40 PM bus from Boston Logan Airport – South Station – Concord, NH
On Tuesday, the official James Taylor Twitter account announced the Mass. native and his wife had pledged a donation of $1 million to the Massachusetts General Hospital to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the hospital, James was born at MGH, where his physician father had served his medical residency. The couple’s connection to the hospital, however, doesn’t end there. For five years, Kim served on the board of MGH’s pediatric unit.
“Out of an abundance of caution due to the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has temporarily closed athletic fields and courts, such as basketball, tennis, handball, pickle ball, and bocce, throughout the state parks system effective today, March 24, 2020 until Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at which time the closure will be reassessed. Importantly, all state parks across the Commonwealth remain open and available for the public to visit.”
The City of Malden has announced it is closing its city parks “until further notice.”
The city posted Tuesday:
"The City of Malden has made the difficult decision to close our city parks until further notice, effective immediately. We truly understand the benefits of being outside during a time like this for fresh air and exercise, however, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our community is our top priority. The closure of the parks also includes our community gardens.
The City’s initial plan was to keep parks open for passive activity and not allow use of playgrounds and other equipment but after monitoring this for several days, it has been difficult to ensure that all our park-goers are using the necessary precautions and protocols to protect their health and safety and that of those around them.
Residents have been using the bike path for walking, jogging, etc. and it seems to be an alternative that doesn’t lend itself to people congregating. Remember when in public, avoid groups and maintain a social distance of at least six feet. The COVID-19 situation remains fluid and we will be reassessing these closures regularly with our Public Health and Recreation Directors."
The latest numbers from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health show that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has reached 1159. That number is a 382-case rise from yesterday’s total of 777 cases in the Commonwealth.
Additionally, Mass. DPH has announced that two more people have died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the state’s fatality total to 11.
Harvard University President Larry Bacow and his wife Adele have tested positive for COVID-19 and are being treated at home.
The Steamship Authority put out a joint statement Tuesday from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Nantucket Cottage Hospital, asking residents and visitors of the islands to avoid the hospitals, if possible, as to not strain their resources.
Governor Charlie Baker has announced a new text alert system in the state for coronavirus updates. Text COVIDMA to 888-777.
The City of Boston is also offering a texting service for updates on COVID-19. Residents can text “BOSCOVID” to “99411” and opt into alerts.
According to the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, “in the last 24 hours we have confirmed our first five firefighters in the state that have contracted the COVID-19 virus while working. Firefighters place their lives and families at risk in order to provide emergency services to our neighbors and visitors. In Massachusetts, where this selflessness toward our friends and strangers alike is also a cherished family tradition, firefighters respond to motor vehicle wrecks; enter burning buildings; help the elderly in need; transport patients to medical facilities; and yes, even respond to even the false alarm.”
25 Investigates reported on Monday night that three Massachusetts firefighters had tested positive for COVID-19. Two of those three firefighters were from the Billerica Fire Department while the other was a firefighter in the City of Worcester.
On Tuesday afternoon, Boston 25 News’ Kerry Kavanaugh reported that a second firefighter in Worcester had tested positive for COVID-19, as did a Brookline firefighter, bringing the total to five. Those numbers were according to Richard MacKinnon, the president of the labor union Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts.
In total, 158 firefighters have been tested and are awaiting the results. More than 200 are currently in quarantine, with 160 firefighters on three-day quarantine and 101 on 14-day quarantine.
MacKinnon added that they expect the cases of COVID-19 among firefighters to grow.
The health care industry continues to take hits. After reaching out to more than a dozen of the largest hospitals in the state, Boston 25 News learned Brigham & Women’s Hospital has the most infected workers at 22, followed by Tufts Medical Center with 20, including six new cases since Sunday.
MGH tells us “several” employees have tested positive for coronavirus and Boston Children’s says they have one case. Both Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Lowell General Hospital say no workers have been infected. We have not yet heard back from Beth Israel Hospital or South Shore Hospital.
In what is usually a busy season as people begin to spring clean and pack clothes and items for donation, the Salvation Army is taking precautions to ensure people stay safe. As the virus lives on different surfaces for a long period of time, Salvation Army officials are asking donors to refrain from dropping off donations until the crisis subsides.
Starting Wednesday, the MBTA will have five trains arrive in Boston before 7 a.m. to assist medical workers and other emergency personnel to travel to the city in the early morning hours.
“The specific intent of these changes is to allow essential workers to travel with enough time to meet to shift changes at hospitals and other medical facilities,” the MBTA said in a release on Monday evening.
Keolis Commuter Services, the MBTA’s partner for the Commuter Rail, also released a statement providing further detail on the new announcement.
“To better meet the needs of healthcare professionals and other individuals with essential travel in the morning, the Fitchburg, Haverhill, Lowell and Needham lines’ schedules will feature an additional early inbound train on the Reduced Service Schedule,” the release read.
“Additionally, Newburyport line inbound train 7150 will, starting March 25, depart Newburyport at 5:35 a.m., providing an option for passengers that need to be at North Station before 7 a.m.”
For more information, visit mbta.com/covid19.
The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the state are now at 777, up 131 from Sunday. The number of deaths from the disease is now at a total of nine, four more than yesterday.
The nine people who died ranged in age from 50s to 90s. Three of the six men were from Suffolk County, the other three from Norfolk, Hampden, and Berkshire counties. The three women were from Worcester, Essex, and Middlesex counties.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that a second Boston resident has died as a result of COVID-19. The mayor made the announcement during his Monday afternoon news conference.
The first Boston resident to die from the virus was a man in his 90s. His death was announced Sunday night by the mayor and the Mass. Department of Public Health.
Boston Police and Boston EMS confirm one person from each department has tested positive for the coronavirus.
On Monday morning, Boston EMS officials said one of their workers tested positive for COVID-19. That follows Sunday’s announcement that a Boston Police officer tested positive and is quarantined at home. Officials said the officer’s work area has been thoroughly sanitized. Read the full story here.
New Hampshire announced the state’s first death from COVID-19 Monday morning. The state’s total cases now number more than 100.
In a Monday morning briefing, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory for the Commonwealth beginning at noon on Tuesday, March 24.
All non-essential businesses have been ordered to close and residents are urged to stay at home during this time period, which will expire April 7.
Residents will still be allowed to go to grocery stores and pharmacies and take walks around the block. However, Gov. Baker urged people to avoid any direct contact.
“No pickup basketball games, touch football or other person-to-person contact,” he noted.
Restaurants may continue to offer food for takeout and delivery. Medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to remain open, but stores will not be allowed to open to recreational customers.
The Provincetown Board of Health has issued a shelter-in-place order and is requiring all nonessential businesses to close as of 5 p.m. Monday. “Provincetown residents are directed to stay in their homes and avoid all public gatherings, practicing social distancing in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.” the town said in a statement.
The statement added that the order is not a “lockdown” and trips to the grocery store, pharmacy and restaurants are allowed.
A parking ban for non-resident vehicles will also go into effect Monday to discourage visitors during the shelter in place.
“We are taking this extraordinary step because we need everyone to remain safe to prevent the further spread of this virus throughout the community. This is not life as usual. We cannot pretend that Provincetown is immune to what is happening in the rest of the world."
This is the second Massachusetts town to issue a shelter-in-place order. Nantucket issued a similar order that goes into effect Monday.
South Shore Children’s Chorus can’t perform together in person because of the coronavirus outbreak, as all rehearsals and events are suspended through at least April 7. But that didn’t stop the children from letting the show go on.
Members in the advanced choir and summer singers, past and present, virtually performed “Beautiful City” from Godspell. Read the full story here.
The state will open hundreds of day care sites for children of those expected to keep working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Charlie Baker announced Saturday that more than 300 sites will open Monday, with more to follow later. The rest of the state’s child care facilities have been ordered to shut down to help prevent spread of the coronavirus. Baker said the drop-in sites are reserved for those who must report to work, including hospital workers and grocery store employees. Still, Baker said the sites should be used only “as a last resort.”
You can find more details on emergency child care here.
Former Massachusetts governor and current senator for Utah, Mitt Romney has announced he will self-quarantine after extended interaction with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who announced on Sunday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Sen. Romney said in his statement posted to social media that he has no symptoms and that he will be tested for COVID-19. Sen. Paul’s announcement on Sunday said the Congressman was asymptomatic.
Three more people in Massachusetts have died from COVID-19, according to Mass. DPH, bringing the state fatality total to five.
One day after the state announced the second COVID-19 death in Massachusetts in a Middlesex County woman in her 50s, the Department of Public Health announced that two men in their 70s from Hampden and Berkshire counties have died from, “COVID-19-related illness.”
DPH also announced that a third man, identified only as a Suffolk County man in his 90s, also died from a COVID-19-related sickness.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced shortly after the DPH announcement that the victim from Suffolk County was a resident of Boston.
The first fatal case of COVID-19 was announced in an 87-year-old Winthrop man on Friday.
There are now 646 cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, according to the latest numbers from the state’s Department of Public Health. That’s a 121-case increase from yesterday’s total of 525.
Sunday is the second day in a row that the newest COVID-19 cases number in the triple digits.
5C Energy, Inc., an insulation company in Attleboro, donated 1,000 unused surgical masks to Lahey Hospital in Burlington on Saturday.
Company president Ray Colwell said he had to furlough all 30 employees because of the coronavirus. So with the unused masks, he knew they were needed elsewhere with the nationwide shortage.
Colwell is encouraging other contractors who may not need their masks right now to donate them.
“I think if you can afford it and you can get these into the right hands, they’re going to do a lot more good than the money it costs to replace them,” Colwell said.
Nantucket Cottage Hospital confirms the first positive case of COVID-19 on Nantucket, the hospital said in a news release.
The patient will remain quarantined at home while monitoring their symptoms. They were screened at the hospital on Friday, March 20, and the test result was reported positive on Sunday. NCH and the Town of Nantucket Health Department have started the process of figuring out who the patient had come into contact with.
“We ask that community members continue to educate themselves about this unfolding situation, take it extremely seriously, and abide by all necessary safety measures including staying home, social distancing, hand-washing, and hygiene," said Gary Shaw, President and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital.
"Our team at NCH is doing everything we can to care for our island during this challenging time, but we will need the help and support of every member of our community to limit the potential spread of this virus.”
The Nantucket Select Board and the Nantucket Health Director have voted to issue a Stay at Home order starting Monday, March 23 at 5 p.m. through April 6.
This means all residents living in the town and county of Nantucket must stay in their place of residence until further notice. It isn’t a lockdown and essential services including grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants for delivery and pickup will remain open.
A second COVID-19 related death has been announced in Massachusetts, according to the State’s Department of Public Health. The victim is a Middlesex County woman in her 50s. She had a preexisting health condition prior to her death, per Mass. DPH.
In the governor’s Saturday afternoon press conference, Gov. Baker announced that, starting Monday, there will be 300 selective sites across Massachusetts that will serve as emergency drop-in childcare centers for families with no other options. You can find a complete list of those locations here.
At the top of that list is a note explaining the purpose of those emergency programs:
“Priority must be given to people including but are not limited to: health care workers, essential state and human service workers, COVID-19 health workers, grocery store employees, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, transportation and infrastructure workers, sanitation workers, DCF-involved families, and families living in shelters,” it reads. “Emergency Child Care Programs are for when all other non-group-care settings have been exhausted and families have no other options.”
The governor did add that there is a potential for more sites to open eventually.
Today Massachusetts opened its very first privately owned urgent care center in Waltham and started conducting DriveThru testing. The patients in cars are pre-screened and waiting to be tested. The site is in addition to the CVS DriveThru location in Shrewsberry that was announced Thursday.
The governor warns that increase testing means an increase in positive results.
“We are doing the same level of testing you see every single day in other countries,” Gov. Baker said in a Saturday press conference. “And most of those countries, the way they bent the curve is by testing fast enough to be able to catch up to the growth of new cases. And then doing the tracing work and isolating everybody.”
The Boston Bruins announced on Saturday that the Jacobs Family, who own the Bruins and TD Garden, have put together a $1.5 million fund for the part-time employees that work in the building on game days. Those employees will be compensated if the team does not play their final six home games, the announcement said.
Boston College announced in a release on Saturday that 10 of its students have self-reported cases of COVID-19. All of them are currently at home receiving care, according to the university, which added that there are no reported COVID-19 cases on campus.
All of those self-reported cases come from students who either studied in Europe, lived off-campus or studied at Boston College this semester, the university said.
There are now 525 total cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts after the state’s Department of Public Health announced 112 new cases on Saturday afternoon. There were 413 announced cases as of Friday evening.
On its Twitter account, Market Basket said that starting Monday, stores will be open every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Senior shopping hours will also continue each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.
The United Food and Commercial Workers applauded Stop & Shop for giving all union Stop & Shop and Peapod employees represented by the UFCW a 10 percent raise during the coronavirus outbreak. Workers are also getting two additional weeks of paid leave if they get sick.
"This essential pay and benefit increase will not only protect these hard-working men and women, it will help protect the food supply throughout our communities, said UFCW international president Marc Perrone. “Protecting them is absolutely essential to our communities and food supply now more than ever.
“Every supermarket, grocery store, and food retail employer -- union and non-union -- in the Northeast and across America must follow the example that Stop & Shop has set and follow their lead.”
UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing and retails stops.
To help stop the spread of coronavirus, the MBTA announced that starting today, there will be only rear-boarding access on certain lines for the majority of riders. The elderly and people with disabilities can still access front-door entry. It also said it’s increasing its cleaning and sanitizing schedules. Read the full story for complete details.
Both the City of Somerville and the town of Plymouth have announced similar but different orders issued to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
In Somerville, all in-person general retail and personal services will be suspended until further notice as of 12:01 a.m. on March 22. In Plymouth, all non-medically license personal care facilities will be closed until further notice starting at 12:01 a.m. on March 23.
Nine workers at Brigham & Women’s tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital currently has four inpatient cases, 3 in the ICU and 60 patients have been tested but are awaiting their results.
According to the hospital’s spokesperson, 10 health care workers at Tufts Medical Center have tested positive for COVID-19.
Currently, there are no positive cases of the disease in their Intense Care Unit nor in their inpatient unit. There are currently 15 patients who have been tested for coronavirus, but their results are pending.
State health officials have confirmed the first death related to the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. According to state health officials, the person is an 87-year-old Winthrop man who had pre-existing health conditions.
Massachusetts reports 85 new cases in the state, bringing the total up to 413.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is set to hold a news conference at 4 p.m.
Harvard announced Friday that its 369th Commencement Exercises will be postponed.
An online ceremony will be held on May 28.
Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated in a press conference Friday afternoon that Massachusetts is NOT planning a shelter-in-place order, saying please “get information from legitimate sources.”
Gov. Baker will hold a news conference alongside state health officials to give an update on coronavirus in the Commonwealth.
Attorney General Maura Healey announced her office has filed an emergency regulation to prohibit price gouging of essential products and services during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Massachusetts State Police are warning the public about a possible scam that could lead to thefts in their homes.
According to a Facebook post, people dressed in Hazmat suits are telling residents they need to test for coronavirus and then they are stealing from them while taking fake vitals.
Mass. State Police said they do not know the source of the original messages but addressed it to keep the public aware.
If you see a white van with people wearing hazmat suits, you are urged to call the police.
The Regional Old Colony Communications Center in Duxbury is also warning about scams.
The Mass. Department of Public Health notified the Randolph Health Department of an adult resident that tested positive for COVID-19.
This is the first positive case in Randolph.
The resident is now in isolation and experiencing mild illness.
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