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Mass. Coronavirus Cases, Now Over 40, Include Elementary Student, Town Manager

Thirty-two of the cases are Biogen employees or contacts, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

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UPDATE, Tuesday, March 10: The number of cases more than doubled from Monday to Tuesday, and Gov. Baker declared an emergency. Details here.

The number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus in Massachusetts has increased to 41, up from 28 on Sunday, according to state health officials, while town officials revealed new details about individual cases, including an elementary school student and a town manager.

Forty of the state's cases are presumed to be positive, according to the Department of Public Health's update on Monday. Only one case has been confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Five of the cases are in Berkshire County, 15 in Middlesex, 10 each in Norfolk and Suffolk and one in Worcester. Eighteen are female and 23 are male. Health officials said four of the patients were hospitalized, while the other 37 were not.

Several schools were shut down as coronavirus cases rose in Massachusetts Monday, and drivers for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft say they're being extra-careful as the outbreak continues.

State health officials say nine of the 13 new cases are associated with a conference held by the biotech company Biogen from Feb. 24 to 27 at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston's Seaport District. Four others are travel related and the origin of the remaining cases are under investigation.

Overall, 32 of the 41 cases statewide so far are connected to Biogen.

On Monday evening, the town of Arlington revealed that a student at Stratton Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. All school faculty, staff and families of students who came into contact with the infected student have been notified and told to self-quarantine for 14 days.

It's the town's second positive diagnosis, following one of the student's parents, a woman in her 40s who'd attended the Biogen employees' meeting. The other parent and child who live in the house didn't display symptoms but were in the 14-day self-quarantine.

The school, and all Arlington Public Schools, will remain open Tuesday, town officials said, noting in a statement that, "If you have not been notified by the Arlington Health Department that you need to self-quarantine, then you do not need to self-quarantine."

Norwood Public Schools Superintendent David Thomson is one of 11 town officials being asked to self-quarantine after attending a party last Sunday with someone who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile in Norwood, the town's general manager, Tony Mazzucco, was informed he's tested positive for COVID-19 as well, the town announced Monday. He'd been one of 11 town officials in self-quarantine after coming in contact with a person who tested positive for the new coronavirus at a private event.

Norwood Town Hall was disinfected over the weekend and will stay open during regular business hours this week, the town announced.

A staff member at Center School in Stow also tested positive for COVID-19, Superintendent Brooke Clenchy of Nashoba Regional School District said in a statement Monday evening.

It wasn't immediately clear if the cases from Norwood or Stow were included in the Department of Public Health's total from earlier in the day; Arlington said the student was among the 41 total statewide cases.

The risk of COVID-19 to the general public in Massachusetts remains low at this time, according to state health officials.

City health officials have said there is currently no evidence of community transmission in Boston and that the risk remains low at this time.

The state's first and so far only confirmed case of the coronavirus was announced on Feb. 1 in a university student who had recently traveled back to Boston from Wuhan, China. The UMass Boston student, who is in his 20s and lives in Boston, returned from China on Jan. 28 and sought medical attention the following day for a runny nose.

His case was confirmed Jan. 31 and he was quarantined in his home, according to health officials. The man's few close contacts were identified and monitored for any signs of symptoms.

Dr. Michael J. Ryan of the World Health Organization answered questions on Monday about the spread of the coronavirus.

As of last week, 719 people have been subject to self-quarantine in Massachusetts because of COVID-19, officials said. Of those, 470 people have completed monitoring and are no longer quarantined, while 249 are currently quarantined.

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