BOSTON — Here are the latest local updates on the coronavirus pandemic in Massachusetts.
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Lynn Mayor Thomas M. McGee announced on Saturday that multiple executive orders are now in place for the city. The first is an order requiring Lynn residents and visitors to stay in their homes between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they are providing an essential service.
Included in that order is a prohibition on all non-essential gatherings of any size for any reason and asks that all residents wear a face covering when in public.
The second of three orders announced by the mayor limits the amount of staff and customers an essential business can have inside the establishment by 40%, while the third prohibits landlords from evicting tenants during the public health crisis.
All of the orders take effect on Sunday, April 12.
The COVID-19 death toll in Massachusetts has risen to 686 people after the state’s Department of Public Health reported 87 new deaths from the virus on Saturday afternoon.
Additionally, 1,886 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 since Friday’s report from Mass. DPH. That brings the state’s total of people who have tested positive to 22,860.
Since Friday’s report, 6,404 more people were tested for COVID-19 in Massachusetts, bringing the state total to 108,776 people tested.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Saturday that 3,000 more members of the Massachusetts National Guard would be activated to help in the state’s continued fight against COVID-19.
That means the state’s total number of National Guardsmen activated is now over 5,000.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Saturday that grocery store workers in Massachusetts can now be tested for COVID-19 at two of the state’s drive-thru locations meant for first responders. Those locations are near Gillette Stadium in Foxborough and at the Big E in West Springfield.
Grocery store workers do not need to be symptomatic and do not need to make an appointment to be tested at either location.
Additionally, the governor announced that the state’s COVID-19 text alert system can now be accessed in Spanish. People who want to receive alerts in Spanish about Massachusetts’ continued fight against the virus can test ‘COVIDMAESP’ to 888777.
There are also guides out in multiple languages that help non-English speakers who are trying to fill out the state’s unemployment application. Gov. Baker also announced the creation of the Spanish Language Unemployment Application for Spanish speakers looking to file.
On Saturday, Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker toured a facility center in Somerville that is home to a system of machines designed to decontaminate N95 masks for their clients, which includes many healthcare providers.
The set of three machines are the first of their kind in Massachusetts and are named after three of the local sports teams. The services they provide will be free to healthcare workers due to a federal contract.
Governor Baker signed a bill that allows the education commissioner waive the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System testing for the 2019-2020 school year due to the global pandemic.
On Friday, Education Commissioner Jeff Riley announced this spring’s regular administration of the MCAS has been officially canceled. More information will follow.
Employees at grocery stores across the state will have access to free priority COVID-19 testing thanks to a new public health guidance issued by Governor Baker on Friday.
On the same day Baker announced an advisory would be put in place recommending all residents wear a mask or face covering when out in public, his administration announced grocery store workers are now also included in the group allowed access to the COVID-19 testing site at Gillette Stadium and the Big E fairgrounds.
Additionally, 3,000 more members of the Massachusetts National Guard are being activated, per Baker’s authorization.
“Beginning Saturday, April 11, the men and women who provide critical access to food and other necessities may schedule an appointment to receive COVID-19 testing at the sites located at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro and the Big E fairgrounds in West Springfield," the administration said in a news release. “All appointments must be made in advance by the worker’s supervisor or manager, and personnel do not need to be symptomatic to be eligible.”
There was no word on whether the state would be providing protective equipment for grocery store workers as well.
Governor Baker announced on Friday the state is working with local hospital to increase acute and ICU bed capacity. The Commonwealth is working to make a total of approximately 14,500 treatment beds available ahead of the surge:
- 11,000 beds could be available for ICU and acute care in the existing hospital system. This represents a breakdown of roughly 9,400 acute care beds and 1,500 ICU beds.
- Through hospital surge planning and field hospitals, the Commonwealth is bringing approximately 3,500 new beds online for ICU and acute care. This breaks down to approximately 2,500 new hospital beds coming online from hospital surge planning, and 1,000 beds coming online though field hospitals.
According to new numbers released Friday afternoon, the state is reporting 96 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state total up to 599 deaths.
There have been 2,033 new cases, bringing the state total to 20,974.
A total of 102,372 people have been tested.
All residents in the state are now advised to wear masks when out in public in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, Governor Baker announced on Friday.
Governor Baker’s administration has announced its COVID-19 text message alert system, “AlertsMA” is now available in Spanish.
Users can subscribe to the Spanish-language service by texting COVIDMAESP to 888-777.
Since its launch on March 24, over 215,000 people have signed up to receive text message updates.
State health officials announce 70 new COVID-19 deaths in the state Thursday, bringing the total to 503.
There have been 2,151 new cases, bringing the state total to 18,941.
A total of 94,958 people have been tested.
Dumping disposable wipes, masks and gloves on the ground can leave you with a $5,500 fine in Swampscott.
The police department made the announcement on Facebook Thursday morning.
The Department of Unemployment Assistance is implementing three new public benefit programs that will expand unemployment eligibility, temporarily increase weekly benefits for all claimants and allow additional categories of people to claim benefits.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
The FPUC program will provide an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting regular Unemployment Compensation.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not working as a result of COVID-19 and are self-employed, independent contractors, and gig economy workers.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
The PEUC program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits.
You can find additional information about these programs here.
Boston Mayor Walsh speaking at 2:30 p.m.
Coronavirus Task Force speaking at approximately 5 p.m.
The state’s first field hospital at the DCU Center opens at 7 a.m. with more than 200 beds for treating coronavirus patients. Staff say they expect to see about 10 to 20 patients Thursday, with more expected as cases in the state increase and hospitals reach capacity.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced 77 new COVID-19 deaths in the state, bringing Massachusetts’ total to 433 people who have died from the virus thus far.
Additionally, 1,588 new positive cases of COVID-19 were also announced on Wednesday by Mass. DPH. That increase means that 16,790 people have tested positive for the virus in Massachusetts.
The state also announced that 6,167 people have been tested since Tuesday’s report, bringing the total of people in Mass. tested for COVID-19 to 87,511.
For the second time in its 135-year history, the Boston Pops is forced to cancel an entire season of performances.
The spring season was set to take place from May 6 to June 13 and would mark the 25th anniversary of Keith Lockhart as conductor.
Fans can stay connected in early May through Boston Pops At Home.
Twelve employees with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families have tested positive for coronavirus since the outbreak began.
Since the declaration of the state of emergency, DCF has been working with SEIU Local 509 to address key workforce issues with guidance on the use of telework.
DCF has not released additional information on the employees who tested positive and no further information is available.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that there have been 96 additional deaths related to COVID-19 in the state, bringing the Mass. total to 356 people.
The 96 newly reported deaths occurred over the weekend or within the last 24 hours, according to Mass. DPH’s daily report.
Additionally, 1,365 more positive cases of COVID-19 were also announced in the state, as the total number of positive cases is now 15,202 in Massachusetts.
Since Monday’s report, 4,915 people in Mass. have been tested for COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 81,344 people tested.
Boston Pride and the City of Boston announced that the 50th-anniversary celebration Pride events scheduled for June 2020 will be postponed to June 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Boston Pride Parade and Festival will now take place on June 12, 2021.
A first-of-its-kind testing facility in Massachusetts promising hundreds of coronavirus tests a day and faster results will be up and running in Lowell, part of a collaboration between the city, state and CVS Health.
People must preregister online for an appointment time (no walk-ups are allowed) and after arriving for their appointment, they’re tested from the comfort of their own car. Positive results come back within five minutes and negative tests under 15 minutes, much faster than at most of the other coronavirus testing facilities in the state.
Secretary Thomas A. Turco, of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, announced on Monday he tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing mild symptoms. He has since notified his close contact colleagues and has been working from home.
“The EOPSS team has been diligent in working remotely and following Governor Baker’s social distancing advisory," said Turco. "When it has been essential to meet in person, we have been careful to adhere to DPH and CDC health and safety guidance. I am deeply grateful to my colleagues in the office and the public safety community for stepping so seamlessly into new and important roles to protect the Commonwealth’s residents and communities. That work will continue without interruption.”
Mayor Marty Walsh announced on Monday the City of Boston has decided to extend the due date for property tax bills in the city until June 1st to give residents more flexibility due to the current economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
Property tax bills were previously due May 1. The City of Boston is also waiving interest on late property tax and motor vehicle excise tax payments until June 30th, if the bill was originally due after March 10, meaning any resident who is facing a late fine for not paying their excise bill on time will have a grace period of no late fees until June 30th.
The death toll in Massachusetts from COVID-19 has risen to 260 after 29 new deaths from the virus were announced Monday by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Also, 1,337 new positive cases of COVID-19 were also announced in the state, bringing the Mass. total to 13,837 people who have tested positive for the virus.
Since Sunday’s update, there have been 4,492 additional people tested for the coronavirus, elevating the state’s total to 76,429 people tested.
Dr. Michael Misialek at Newton-Wellesley Hospital said they’re rolling out rapid testing either today or tomorrow.
“Rapid testing is important because we really need to identify patients as quickly as possible and as many patients as possible," he said.
"The WHO has set out a mandate that providers should identify as soon as possible so that we can diagnose patients, appropriately isolate them and go about contact tracing any relatives, friends that they may have come in contact so that we can break the transmission of this disease.
"That’s the only way we’re going to stop this pandemic and flatten the curve, is to test, test, test.”
Dr. Misialek said the testing machine is about the size of a toaster and he explained how testing works. If a patient’s test comes back positive, they could see the result in as few as five minutes, and if their test comes back negative, it could take 13 minutes.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Sunday that additional aid will be sent to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
“We have also informed the state - Commonwealth - of Massachusetts that we will be helping them in their efforts to protect their most vulnerable citizen in two of their nursing homes,” said Robert Wilkie, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs at the Coronavirus Task Force’s Sunday press conference at the White House.
That announcement comes after deadly COVID-19 outbreaks at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke and Chelsea, where more than 70 residents have tested positive for the virus while at least 19 veterans have died.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Sunday that 15 more people in the state have died from COVID-19 while 764 additional positive cases have been identified. The announcement means the death toll in Massachusetts from COVID-19 has risen to 231 people.
Additionally, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts now stands at 12,500 people.
The number of people tested in the Commonwealth is now 71,937 after the state tested 3,137 additional people since their Saturday announcement.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a series of new protocols for the city due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all of which are set to be in place through at least May 4.
The Boston Public Health Commission has issued a public health advisory asking all nonessential workers in Boston to remain in their homes from 9 p.m. through 6 a.m., effective starting Monday, April 6. The mayor said that the advisory is meant to discourage unnecessary trips to public places and incentivize delivery services after 9 p.m.
The mayor also advised, in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that everyone wears a type of face cover when leaving their homes.
Those face covers, “should be made of intact, close-weave cloth and allow comfortable breathing,” the mayor said in a release shortly following his Saturday press conference. Residents are advised to use face coverings instead of medical-grade facemasks so that those masks can be used for healthcare workers.
To learn about the CDC’s guidelines on face covers, please click here.
Walsh added that city employees who have to work outside of their homes will be given face coverings by the City of Boston. Those who work in fields that require personal protective equipment [PPE] are asked to continue to use it.
All Boston parks will have their sports facilities closed while the pause on nonessential construction remains in effect.
The mayor also announced that City Hall will only be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, though residents are still required to make an appointment before visiting.
Gov. Baker toured the drive-thru testing site in Foxborough, which will remain open seven days a week for the foreseeable future.
The site is solely for first responders who have one or more designated coronavirus symptoms, Baker said. Up to 200 tests or more will be performed every day, depending on materials and kits for those responders.
“Some of the greatest challenges associated with meeting it [coronavirus] head-on are being met by our men and women in public safety,” Baker said.
Massachusetts received a shipment of 100 ventilators from the national stockpile last night and he believes they’ll be distributed over the next 24 hours.
“We don’t believe this is the last shipment,” he said.
Baker said they’re working on getting more personal protective equipment to first responders.
He added that this testing site will remain open for as long as it’s needed, as testing helps determine not only who is infected, but where hotspots are to help control the spread.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said of first responders, “We know of these people as our heroes. But they’re human.”
She said it’s important they have the gear they need, and it’s also “critical” to know whether they have the virus or not. Not only for the safety of themselves, but their families that they go home to and the people and patients that they’re around. Without testing, they could have the virus and spread it.
Baker said sometime around April 8th or 10th we will head into the peak of the coronavirus surge and around April 20th we could reach the apex before coming down. But, "that could be off by a couple of days.”
Across Massachusetts, Baker said 68,800 people have been tested, with 5,800 tests performed yesterday. They’re seeing “significant progress” in testing across the state and have met their goal for the past two weeks of testing at least 3,500 people per day.
The Massachusetts Department of Correction announced it has expanded its enhanced health and safety measures at all of its 16 facilities across the state.
Already implemented, hand sanitizer has been distributed and is available to all inmates and staff, high-touch areas are frequently sanitized, and screening areas have been set up where people can be surveyed for risk factors and have their temperature taken.
Now, the DOC has limited movement in all facilities to allow greater social distancing. Staff have been told to use personal protective equipment (PPE) if they’re within 6 feet of another person or in an area with inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19. Inmates will get their meals and medication in their units. Attorney visits will not be impacted.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday that 81 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state while two more have died from the virus.
There are now 621 positive cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire.
One hundred ventilators will be sent to Massachusetts to help in the fight against COVID-19, Vice President Mike Pence announced during the Coronavirus Task Force’s Saturday briefing at the White House.
Additionally, 1,334 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts were also announced by the Department of Public Health. That increase means that, as of Saturday, there are 11,736 cases of COVID-19 in the state. This is the fourth consecutive day that the number of new people diagnosed with COVID-19 has been over 1,000.
Mass. DPH also announced that 5,838 additional people were tested since yesterday’s update, bringing the state total of people tested to 68,800.
Bill Bailey, the host of the WROL radio program ‘Irish Hit Parade,’ broadcasted an on-site sing-along for Brigham And Women’s employees right outside the hospital in an effort to thank all those workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that Americans cover their faces when leaving the home, especially around other people. But President Donald Trump is calling it “voluntary” and says he himself won’t wear a mask.
Says Trump: “I’m choosing not to do it.”
The latest guidance suggests that Americans use makeshift coverings, such as T-shirts, scarves or bandanas to cover their noses and mouths. Medical-grade masks, especially N95 masks, are to be reserved for those on the front lines of trying to contain the pandemic.
The policy change comes as public health officials are concerned that those without symptoms can spread the virus which causes COVID-19.
State health officials confirmed 38 more people have died from COVID-19 and 1,436 more cases have been confirmed. In total, 192 people have died from the virus and 10,402 cases have been confirmed. 62,962 people have been tested in the state thus far.
On Friday, Governor Baker signed a bill enabling some restaurants during the state of emergency to sell beer and wine along with takeout and delivery orders. The decision comes in an effort to help boost business for restaurants struggling during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Baker announced Friday that a testing site for symptomatic police officers, firefighters and other public safety personnel will open this weekend near Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
The state will offer up to 200 free, drive-through COVID-19 tests a day.
Testing is by appointment only, and supervisors must make the appointments.
The tests start Sunday 9 a.m to 5 p.m. and will run seven days a week.
UMass Memorial Medical Center is working with the state to build out a field hospital at the DCU Center in Worcester.
The hospital’s CEO Dr. Eric Dickson joined Boston 25 Morning News, saying those interested in joining the staff can apply here.
The MBTA has further modified bus service due to the coronavirus outbreak:
Most bus routes will continue to operate a modified Saturday schedule, including additional service on busier routes during peak travel times. Beginning at the start of service on Monday, April 6, the following will take effect:
- Route 710 will continue to operate regular weekday service. Routes 19 and 245 will also begin to operate regular weekday service. These routes directly serve essential medical workers and health care communities.
- Route 7 will now operate a regular Saturday service.
- Routes 352, 354, and 504 will operate modified weekday service.
- Due to very low ridership and/or the availability of alternative travel options, Routes 325, 326, 351, and 501 will temporarily no longer operate.
According to new numbers released by Massachusetts state health officials Thursday, there have been 32 new COVID-19 related deaths in the state since Wednesday, bringing the total number up to 154.
There have been 1,228 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 8,966.
A total of 56,608 people have been tested for COVID-19.
Governor Baker issued an emergency order on Thursday requiring all coastal beach reservation parking areas managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation to close on Friday at noon. This will be done in an effort to reduce large groups of people at beaches.
State beaches will remain open and available to pedestrians for walking, jogging, biking, solitary fishing, etc.
State parks and parking areas remain open, but the public is asked to visit state parks and other open space properties located near their homes.
Properties owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation like ice rinks, visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, fitness areas, athletic fields, athletic courts, golf courses and bathroom facilities will remain closed until May 4, 2020.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker held a press conference.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will speak at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
Boston 25 News will carry both on TV and on our live stream.
More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, far exceeding a record high set just last week, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus.
The job cuts are mounting against the backdrop of economies in the United States and abroad that have almost certainly sunk into a severe recession as businesses close across the world.
Last week’s figure is much higher than the previous record of 3.3 million reported for the previous week. The surging layoffs have led many economists to envision as many as 20 million lost jobs by the end of April.
The Patriots’ plane is picking up N95 masks from China for Mass. health care workers.
The Worcester Red Sox announced on Wednesday they would be temporarily pausing the construction of their new and highly-anticipated Polar Park ballpark due to coronavirus concerns.
In a statement, the team said:
"All of us with the Worcester Red Sox recognize what a difficult and unusual time we are living in, and all of us should recognize that the health of our community, our country, and the world are what’s most important.
We want nothing more than for Polar Park to be a point of pride for the people of Worcester and the Commonwealth - including the many local skilled construction workers who are putting their heart and soul into this ballpark.
We concur with our partners that a temporary halt gives our community the best opportunity to permanently contain this destructive virus."
It is still unclear how this will affect the expected timeline for the project.
On Wednesday, Governor Baker announced a field hospital will be set up at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center after the first field hospital in the state was set up at the Worcester DCU Arena.
According to new numbers released by Massachusetts state health officials Wednesday, there have been 33 new COVID-19 related deaths in the state since Tuesday, bringing the total number up to 122.
There have been 1,118 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 7,738.
A total of 51,738 people have been tested for COVID-19.
According to the Archdiocese of Boston, eight priests who have tested positive for COVID-19 are being monitored. The statement goes on to say the eight includes six senior priests and two parish priests, who have both recovered and completed quarantine.
The other six are receiving care at home or at the hospital.
Anyone who has recently been in contact with the priests has been notified.
It’s April 1 and many people have questions about how the MBTA is handing April parking permits, CharlieCards, and how to pause their monthly online auto-pay. The MBTA has a page dedicated to what’s eligible, what isn’t and how to do it here.
The Museum of Fine Arts has decided to cancel all of their future events through August in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All the museum’s events and programs through Aug. 31, 2020 will be canceled.
“We came to this decision with great care—in consultation with community and cultural partners, performers, and city officials—to put the safety of our staff, volunteers, and visitors first,” said Makeeba McCreary, Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement. “Where feasible, we are rescheduling programs for the future.”
Anyone who has purchased tickets to an upcoming MFA event will receive a follow-up email with instructions on how to get a refund or donate a portion of your ticket to the MFA Fund.
A total of 89 people in Massachusetts have now died from COVID-19, after the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced 33 more fatalities from the virus on Tuesday afternoon.
Additionally, 868 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state, pushing Massachusetts’ total to 6,620 cases. The Department of Public Health also announced that 46,935 people have been tested in the state, an increase of 4,142 people from Monday.
Massachusettes Governor Charlie Baker announced on Tuesday afternoon that non-essential businesses will remain closed through May 4. The governor also extended the state’s social distancing guidelines through May 4 as well as Massachusetts’ stay-at-home advisory.
Baker’s announcement falls in line with President Donald Trump’s social distancing guidelines, which were recently extended through April 30. The Massachusetts stay-at-home advisory was set to expire next Tuesday, April 7.
Boston Calling, a popular music festival in the city, has officially been canceled, organizers posted Tuesday afternoon.
The announcement says those who purchased tickets will hear from the organizations “with a detailed outline of options available.” They say ticket holders will have the option to get a full refund or roll their tickets over to next year’s festival.
The event was scheduled for May 22-24, 2020.
To better assist people who are unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Unemployment Assistance will hold daily virtual town hall meetings Tuesday through Friday to walk filers through a step-by-step process that will result in a successful unemployment claim and to take questions from claimants. To participate, register for a specific call and the department will send access information. Individuals can also just follow along with the presentation -- but not be able to ask questions other than through the web conference’s chat function -- online. (State House News Service)