Governor Baker says rising COVID-19 cases could mean changes to reopening guidelines

MA removes RI from lower-risk state list for new travel order due to increasing cases, positive test rates

BOSTON — The state’s health numbers are slipping and Governor Charlie Baker says action may be needed if it continues to happen.

The governor says the health numbers will continue to dictate the reopening process ,but he would not shed any light on how it will work if we have to start going in the opposite direction.

The state had a seven-day average of about 1.7% since mid-June but in recent days it has spiked to 2%. Baker says the rising numbers could impact the reopening or even turn it back.

“That could mean gathering sizes could be reduced or we could make some of our business regulations more strict,” said Baker. “Reopening and staying reopening is obviously a big part of the goal.”

The World Health Organization’s says it is safer for the seven-day average to be below 5%. Baker says that is the number they are working to be under.

“It is critical for people to remain vigilant in their daily activities, please continue to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and stay home if you are not feeling well,” said Baker.

He also indicated Massachusetts may join Connecticut in requiring people who visit or come from Rhode Island to quarantine for 14 days unless it is for work because Rhode Island’s numbers are going up.

On Tuesday evening, the Mass. Department of Public Health announced Rhode Island had officially been removed from their lower-risk state list for the new travel order due to the increase in both RI’s positive test rate and cases per 100,000 people.

Baker says people can not let their guard down.

“I understand it,” said Baker. “I mean, week after week, month after month of paying attention to this rule book and to this guidance associated with private behavior and business behavior is hard to do.”

Baker also talked about rapid mobile testing for when schools open. The details of that plan would be released in the coming days.

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