Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday announced announced a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Baker said in a news conference the state had issued guidance prohibiting such gatherings, which include leisure gatherings, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions.
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The order does not apply to normal operations at airports, bus and train stations, libraries, medical facilities, hospitals, shopping centers, stations, he said.
Meanwhile, Baker said state health officials were not recommending that school districts issue system-wide closures at this time.
Health and education officials issued guidance to superintendents earlier in the day about when to close schools — and for how long — and about measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
He said schools should monitor students and issue temporary closures to allow time for cleaning before reopening.
As of Friday, Massachusetts is reporting 123 cases of COVID-19, an increase from 108 the day before. Ninety-four cases are related to an employee conference held by the biotech company Biogen from Feb. 24 to 27 at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston.
On Tuesday, Baker declared a state of emergency over the outbreak.
State officials have now received more kits to test about 5,000 additional people. But Baker says he is asking the CDC and the FDA for more. He also wants more labs around the state to receive the federal authorization needed to do the actual testing.
Schools across Massachusetts are canceling classes or moving to online-only education, more than 1,000 people have been put in quarantine in the state and companies are sending workers home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.