Coronavirus

Boston Hotel That Hosted Coronavirus-Linked Biogen Meeting to Close

The decision to close the Marriott Long Wharf hotel was reportedly made in conjunction with the Boston Public Health Commission

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The Boston hotel that hosted the Biogen conference at the center of the Massachusetts coronavirus outbreak says it is closing "in the interest of public health."

The hotel said in a statement that the decision to close the Marriott Long Wharf hotel was made in consultation with the Boston Public Health Commission in response to "new information." There was no immediate word on how long the hotel would remain closed or what that new information might be.

"We appreciate and support the efforts of our public health authorities as they continue their important work to mitigate potential spread of the novel coronavirus," the statement said. "The safety and well-being of our guests is of paramount importance to us."

With 92 coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency.

Seventy-seven of the 95 coronavirus cases in Massachusetts have been linked to a Feb. 26-27 meeting of executives with Biogen held at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel.

An additional 12 people who have tested positive for the virus outside Massachusetts have been linked to the meeting, including five in North Carolina, two in Indiana, and one each in New Jersey, Tennessee and Washington, D.C., officials have said.

The Boston conference gathered roughly 175 company executives for two days of meetings at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel, a striking brick landmark on the city's scenic harborfront.

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Two Boston hospitals are testing dozens of people who were at a hotel that hosted a conference now linked to several cases of coronavirus. City and state officials spoke about those cases at a briefing, telling the public to stay calm and take steps to protect themselves.

State health officials say the company notified them of the potential outbreak March 3 and that by March 6 they had publicly confirmed the cases as the type of coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.

State and city health officials said they are still working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify close contacts of the people with confirmed cases in order to monitor them.

But they declined to say whether any of those sickened from the conference have been hospitalized, or how many of those quarantined in Massachusetts are linked to the meeting.

Several Biogen workers are "doing well," CEO Michel Vounatsos told employees Monday, while others are "fighting this novel virus and living in isolation from their families."

The company, which has about 7,500 employees globally, said Friday it has asked employees who attended the meeting to quarantine themselves. It has also directed office-based workers in Massachusetts; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; and Baar, Switzerland, to work from home, though manufacturing activities are continuing, Caouette said.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency Tuesday as the number of coronavirus cases in the state grew to 92.

In addition to the 95 cases in Massachusetts, nearly 450 people are currently in quarantine and more than 600 have completed the monitoring period symptom-free, officials said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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