coronavirus

TIMELINE: Tracking the Spread of the Coronavirus in New England

Here's what we know so far about the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine

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Thousands of people across New England have died of the new coronavirus and tens of thousands have tested positive, and efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus have caused massive changes to daily life across the region.

People have been ordered to stay home as much as possible, schools have moved online, businesses have closed and hospitals have braced for a huge influx of COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts' death toll topped 2,000, the highest in New England and fourth-highest nationwide. But the suffering has been felt regionwide -- Connecticut had more than 1,500 deaths, despite having half the number of people as its neighbor to the north.

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Here's how the virus spread in New England:

Feb. 1: 1st Case in New England

The first case of COVID-19 was announced by Massachusetts health officials. The patient, a UMass Boston student who had recently traveled back to Boston from Wuhan, China, was the eighth diagnosis in the U.S. and the first on the East Coast.

The man is in his 20s and lives in Boston, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He sought medical attention soon after his return from China and quarantined at his home.

His "few close contacts" were identified and they were being monitored for any signs of symptoms.

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Feb. 27: Boston Monitoring for Virus

The city of Boston said it was monitoring 34 people for signs of symptoms of the coronavirus, including Massachusetts' only confirmed case.

Officials said 33 people who each came through one of the 11 airports in the country that accept direct flights from China were being monitored. None of the 33, who were being monitored under CDC guidelines, had shown any symptoms.

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities community also ordered all colleges and universities to immediately suspend or cancel internationally-sponsored trips to several countries out of concern for the virus.

Feb. 29: NH's First Patient Goes to Event in Vt.

When an employee at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center showed possible signs of symptoms, the person was examined and told to stay isolated. Instead, that person attended an invitation-only private party tied to Dartmouth College's business school in Vermont.

The following Tuesday, March 3, health officials in the state announced he was the first person in New Hampshire to test positive for coronavirus.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center said it was not aware of any patients being exposed and had identified possible staff who could have been exposed.

The private event took place in the White River Junction's Engine Room, an event space across the river from New Hampshire, according to Vermont health officials. Dartmouth said it was a social event for the Tuck School of Business.

There were between 175 to 200 people at the event, the general manager of the Engine Room said, plus an additional seven staff members. The event space was sanitized, and the staff was told their risk of infection was low and that they could move forward with events.

There are now more than 125 confirmed or presumptive cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with some new reports in New England.

March 1: Two Positive Cases in RI

Rhode Island public health officials said they had identified the state's first and second presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus. The Rhode Island Department of Health announced that an unidentified man in his 40s and a teenager who both had traveled to Europe in mid-February tested positive for the virus.

Health officials said a third person in Rhode Island who was also on the trip to Europe was being tested for COVID-19.

March 2: A Second Case in NH

Health officials announced a second person in close contact with him was also presumed to have COVID-19. Officials said the patient was isolated in his Grafton County home.

March 5: Biogen Meeting Starts Hot Spot

Biogen, a Cambridge-based biopharmaceutical company, announced that three people who attended a meeting in Boston the week before had tested positive for coronavirus.

"At the present time, these individuals are doing well, improving and under the care of their healthcare providers," Biogen said in a statement.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he believed a Tennessee man diagnosed with that state's first case of coronavirus who flew into Boston Logan International Airport was one of three people diagnosed with the virus after attending the meeting.

More than half of all attendees, about 100 people, would go on to test positive.

March 7: First Presumptive Case in Vt., More Cases in Mass.

Vermont announced the state's first case of COVID-19.

“While we had hoped the virus would not come to Vermont, we have been preparing for this eventuality," said Vermont's Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

Massachusetts also announced that the number of coronavirus cases in the state had jumped from 8 to 13, more than quadrupling the number over a two-day period.

March 8: First Connecticut Case, Mass. Cases Continue to Grow

A Connecticut man tested positive for COVID-19, the first in the state to do so. That leaves Maine as the only state in New England without a case.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire health officials announced they were monitoring approximately 150 people as concern grew about the possible spread of COVID-19. It came after two more people in the state tested positive for the virus, bringing the state's total cases to four.

Massachusetts also announced that its coronavirus cases had spiked to 28, more than doubling the number from the previous day.

March 10: Mass. and Conn. Declare States of Emergency

Massachusetts announced that there are now 92 cases of coronavirus in the state, prompting Gov. Charlie Baker to declare a state of emergency.

Connecticut also declared a state of emergency.

New Hampshire and Rhode Island also announced new cases of coronavirus, bringing the totals to five in each state.

With 92 cases in Massachusetts, five in New Hampshire, five in Rhode Island, two in Connecticut and one in Vermont, the total New England cases now stand at 105.

March 12: First Case of Coronavirus in Maine

Officials in Maine announced the state's first case of the novel coronavirus.

The person who tested positive was a woman in her 50s from Androscoggin County who was quarantined at home, according to Gov. Janet Mills and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maine was the last state in New England to report a presumptive case of COVID-19.

March 13: NH and Vt. Declare States of Emergency, Boston Marathon Is Postponed

New Hampshire and Vermont governors declared states of emergency.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said the state of emergency allows him to deploy resources to respond to coronavirus-related issues.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Baker issued an emergency order on most gatherings of more than 250 people. The order came after an announcement that the Boston Marathon would be postponed

March 15: Mass., Conn. Announce School Closures 

Gov. Baker ordered all Massachusetts public and private elementary and secondary schools to close for three weeks. 

Baker also issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, until April 6

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced he was issuing an executive order to close all schools in the state after March 17. Lamont said the schools would be closed through at least March 31.

Many schools are closing due to positive coronavirus tests, and others are doing so out of an abundance of caution.

March 16: NH Closes Schools, RI Bans Dine-in Restaurant Service 

Gov. Sununu suspended all in-person classes in New Hampshire through April 3 and banned gatherings of 50 people or more. 

Gov. Raimondo banned dine-in service at all Rhode Island restaurants and bars and limited gatherings to no more than 25 people. 

Cases of COVID-19 in Vermont surpassed 10 and Gov. Phil Scott banned any on-site consumption at restaurants and bars.

March 18: Conn. Reports First Coronavirus Death

Officials in Connecticut reported the state’s first coronavirus-related death

The 88-year-old man was living at Benchmark Senior Living at Ridgefield Crossing, an assisted living facility in Ridgefield. He was admitted to Danbury Hospital, where he died.

March 19: Vt. Reports First Coronavirus Deaths

Vermont officials reported the state’s first two coronavirus deaths and Connecticut surpassed 150 cases of COVID-19. 

Gov. Baker activated the Massachusetts National Guard to help with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Baker said up to 2,000 members of the guard would help fulfill state agencies' requests for "equipment, logistics, warehousing, and related duties.” 

Gov. Sununu established a $50 million fund to boost New Hampshire’s health care providers. 

Two elderly Vermonters who had tested positive for the new coronavirus died Thursday, Gov. Phil Scott said.

March 20: First Death in Mass., Conn. Closes Non-Essential Businesses

Massachusetts officials reported the state’s first coronavirus death. He was an 87-year-old veteran who lived in Winthrop, town officials said.

Gov. Raimondo activated the National Guard in Rhode Island, saying: "We have been using the National Guard for weeks for drive-through testing but now it's time for more so I'm calling on full activation."

Gov. Lamont ordered all non-essential businesses in Connecticut to close. He said that all non-essential businesses would need to have employees working from home starting March 23. 

March 23: Mass. Closes Non-Essential Businesses, Cases Climb Across New England

Gov. Baker ordered all non-essential businesses in Massachusetts to cease in-person operations for two weeks and issued a stay at home advisory. 

Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine all surpassed 100 cases of coronavirus and New Hampshire reported its first coronavirus death. 

Connecticut surpassed 10 coronavirus deaths and Gov. Lamont extended school closures through April 20.

March 24: Mass. Cases Climb Past 1,000, Maine Businesses Close

Massachusetts surpassed 1,000 cases of COVID-19 with an increase of 382 cases in one day. 

Maine Gov. Mills mandated that all non-essential businesses close physical locations that are public-facing. 

Gov. Janet Mills of Maine mandates all non-essential businesses to close after 118 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the state. Fifteen of those cases are hospitalized, 7 have recovered.

March 25: Mass. Extends School Closures

Gov. Baker extended the closure of all public and private schools, and all non-emergency child care programs, until May 4. 

Vermont surpassed 100 cases of COVID-19. 

March 26: Conn. Cases Surge, NH Enacts Stay-At-Home Order

Connecticut surpassed 1,000 cases of COVID-19 and 20 deaths. 

Gov. Sununu announced a stay-at-home order and extended all New Hampshire school closures through May 4. 

Gov. Baker submitted a request to the federal government for a Major Disaster Declaration for Massachusetts.

Gov. Scott announced that Vermont schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year.

March 27: Maine Reports First Coronavirus Death 

Officials in Maine reported the state’s first death. The man in his 80s was from Cumberland County, according to the Maine CDC. 

Vermont reached 10 coronavirus deaths. 

March 28: RI Announces First Coronavirus Deaths

Rhode Island officials announced the state’s first two coronavirus deaths.

Both the people who died after being diagnosed with coronavirus had underlying health conditions, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Gov. Raimondo also announced a stay-at-home order for Rhode Island through April 13 and banned gatherings of more than five people.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announces the state's first two deaths in the coronavirus pandemic and announces a sweeping set of new measures aimed at stopping its spread, including a stay-at-home order.

March 31: Maine Announces Stay-at-Home Order

Gov. Mills issued a stay-at-home order for Maine and announced that all schools would remain closed until at least May 1. 

Gov. Baker extended the stay-at-home order for Massachusetts through May 4 and announced a 10-person limit on gatherings. 

April 1: Mass. Deaths Top 100

Massachusetts surpassed 100 coronavirus deaths. Gov. Baker hired an attorney to conduct an independent investigation of death at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home where 13 residents had died. 

Rhode Island topped 500 cases of COVID-19 and reached 10 deaths. 

In Connecticut, a newborn baby died of coronavirus. Lamont said the baby was one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19.

April 2: Patriots Step Up to Help Hospitals

The New England Patriots jet flew 1.7 million N95 masks to Boston from China after owner Robert Kraft bought them to help hospitals in Massachusetts and New York. 

Gov. Charlie Baker got emotional when speaking about the donation at Boston Logan Airport, which he later explained was because he finally felt like he'd done something tangible to help the front-line workers in Massachusetts.

Desperately needed supplies have arrived after the Patriots' plane traveled to China to retrieve 1.7 million N95 masks.

April 3: Mass. Cases Surge

Massachusetts surpassed 10,000 cases of COVID-19 and Gov. Baker announced a first-in-the-nation contact-tracing collaborative to better track the spread of coronavirus. 

April 6: Maine Announces More Deaths 

Maine reached 10 coronavirus deaths and nearly 500 cases of the virus across the state.

Rhode Island surpassed 1,000 cases of COVID-19. Gov. Raimondo said that over 100 people had been hospitalized for the virus.

April 9: Field Hospital Planned at Boston's Convention Center

Gov. Baker announced a plan for a 1,000-bed field hospital to be built at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, to follow one built at Worcester's DCU Center arena.

In Connecticut, Gov. Lamont ordered all restaurants, bars, and non-essential businesses to remain closed through May 20, along with classrooms.

The Boston Convention and Expo Center in South Boston officially opened Friday as the state's largest field hospital to help the fight against coronavirus.

April 10: Over Two Dozen Inmates in Vt. Test Positive

In Vermont, 29 prison inmates tested posited for the virus. The Vermont Department of Corrections said that it tested all inmates and staff at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Waterbury after learning that one prisoner had tested positive.

Massachusetts surpassed 20,000 cases of COVID-19. Gov. Baker instructed Massachusetts residents to wear masks in public when they are not able to social distance. 

April 8: Vt. Stay-at-Home Order Extended

Gov. Scott extended Vermont’s state of emergency through May 15. The state of emergency included the stay-at-home order.

April 14: RI Announces Mask

Gov. Mills extended Maine’s civil state of emergency until May 15. The extension did not apply to the state’s stay-at-home order. 

Gov. Raimondo announced an executive order requiring store employees to wear masks. The order required employers to provide masks to employees who do not have them. 

April 15: Mass. Hits Major Milestone

Massachusetts surpassed 1,000 deaths from coronavirus, with almost 30,000 cases statewide. 

On the day Massachusetts reported its coronavirus death toll topped 1,000 people, Gov. Charlie Baker said the long-expected surge has arrived and got emotional about the personal toll of COVID-19.

April 16: NH Schools Closure Extended

Gov. Sununu announced that New Hampshire schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year. 

Sununu said that his team looked at several models for re-opening schools by the end of the school year but that none would have been safe for students and their families.

In Rhode Island, the number of coronavirus deaths surpassed 100.

April 17: Deaths in Conn. Top 1,000

Connecticut surpassed 1,000 coronavirus deaths.

"A milestone tragic day,” Gov. Lamont said. "We have over 1,000 of our citizens, our members of the Connecticut family, who have now passed away."

April 21: Mass. Schools Will Remain Closed 

Gov. Baker announced that Massachusetts schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. 

In Connecticut, the number of COVID-19 cases surged above 20,000. 

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