Massachusetts Declares State of Emergency As 51 New Cases of Coronavirus Reported

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a state of emergency during a Tuesday news conference as the number of coronavirus cases in the state reached 92.

Massachusetts joins a growing number of states that have made emergency declarations, including Colorado, Rhode Island, New York and California.

"Today, I'm declaring a state of emergency in Massachusetts," Baker said in a Tuesday statement sent to Newsweek. "I urge employers and other large organizations to follow our example and limit or eliminate non-essential travel, limit or eliminate large events where possible, and explore telework where appropriate for your organization. We are also urging older adults and those with health issues to avoid large crowds and large events."

"In addition to the state of emergency, our administration is moving forward with enhanced guidance for employers and large organizations," Baker told reporters on Tuesday. "Responding to this evolving health threat requires everyone to be vigilant and for everyone to be part of this effort."

Out of the 92 cases reported, 70 of them are related to a February employee conference held by biotechnology company Biogen in Boston which was attended by approximately 175 individuals. At least three of the people who attended the meeting later tested positive for coronavirus.

"We have informed employees who attended the management meeting and are symptomatic that, if they haven't already, they will be contacted by the public health authorities and they must quarantine themselves," Biogen said in a Monday statement. "Additionally, these employees are being asked to isolate from the people they live with (e.g. family members, loved ones or roommates) until further notice, and these close contacts must also be quarantined until further notice."

In a Tuesday statement, Massachusetts Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Gus Bickford announced that upcoming Democratic caucuses in the state would be postponed.

"In light of guidance provided by state officials at this afternoon's press conference, MDP is temporarily suspending all caucuses scheduled to take place," Bickford tweeted. "In the event that this temporary suspension must continue for an extended period of time, the Party will develop a replacement to the caucus process."

"In the event that this temporary suspension must continue for an extended period of time, the Party will develop a replacement to the caucus process. (2/4)

— MA Democratic Party (@massdems) March 10, 2020

Officials in Boston canceled the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Monday citing health concerns. In a statement, Mayor Marty Walsh said the decision to cancel the parade "is being made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy."

Harvard University, which is approximately three miles away from Boston, announced Tuesday that it was moving all of its classes online and that students were not to return to campus after the end of spring break.

"The decision to move to virtual instruction was not made lightly," wrote Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow in a Tuesday statement. "The goal of these changes is to minimize the need to gather in large groups and spend prolonged time in close proximity with each other in spaces such as classrooms, dining halls, and residential buildings."

charlie baker
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a state of emergency Tuesday after a rise in the reported number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Isaac Brekken/Getty

Recent statistics place the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. at 950, with the deaths of 30 individuals attributable to complications of the infection. However, 15 people are reported to be totally recovered and out of the 905 active cases, eight of those are listed as serious or critical.

Globally, 118,766 positive coronavirus cases have been reported with 4,269 deaths reported worldwide. Out of those cases, 65,105 individuals have totally recovered from the virus.

Statista World Map Coronavirus March 10, 2020
A map showing the cases of COVID-19 worldwide as of March 10, 2020, 4 a.m. EST.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.

Updated 7:14 p.m. EST 03/10/2020: This story was updated to include a statement from the office of the Governor of Massachusetts.

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