Massachusetts Coronavirus Cases Up to 197 as State Moves to Help Small Businesses

More than half of the state's coronavirus cases are related to a Biogen employee conference held last month in Boston

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The total number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts has risen to 197, public health officials said Monday, an increase of 33 from Sunday.

Massachusetts is one of the states with the most coronavirus cases in the country so far. While no one has died from the virus locally, more than 70 people have died nationwide.

The state's efforts to dramatically slow the spread of the outbreak have dramatically impacted commerce as people are urged to stay indoors and anything but small gatherings are prohibited. Aiming to give relief to the state's small businesses, Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced that Massachusetts is creating a $10 million relief fund

It will offer up to $75,000 in loans to coronavirus-hit businesses with fewer than 50 employees, with no payments due in the first six months.

"As our administration continues to take steps to protect the health and safety of residents, we recognize the hardships facing the small businesses that create the foundation of the state’s economy," Baker said in a statement.

Small businesses can find the application at, and the completed application can be emailed to, with subject line, “2020 Small Business Recovery Loan Fund.”

President Donald Trump spoke at a press conference on Monday alongside Vice President Mike Pence and the administration’s Coronavirus Task Force. Trump announced “dramatic” economic measures would be proposed to Congressional leadership on Tuesday. In the United States, the coronavirus has infected more than 600 people and killed more than 26.

More than half of the state's coronavirus cases are related to the employee meeting held at a Boston hotel by the Cambridge biotech firm Biogen last month. Health officials say 100 of the 197 cases are now tied to the Feb. 24-27 meeting held at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel, which has since closed "in the interest of public health."

Eighty-three of the state's coronavirus cases are in Middlesex County, 36 in Norfolk, 36 in Suffolk, 11 in Berkshire, eight in Essex, six in Worcester, three in Plymouth, two in Bristol, one in Barnstable and one in Hampden. Ten others are from unknown locations.

Ninety-three of the cases are female, and 104 are male.

Only 14 of the Massachusetts patients were hospitalized, 123 were not, and 60 remain under investigation.

Many officials have cited the phrase "flattening the curve" as they've seriously cut back on public events. An infectious disease expert explained what it means and why it's crucial for the public health system.

Baker on Sunday ordered all Massachusetts public and private elementary and secondary schools to close for three weeks. The school closures go into effect Tuesday and will remain in place through April 7, the governor said. Walsh has ordered Boston schools closed until April 27.

Other actions announced Sunday include limiting the size of gatherings, restricting where people can eat at restaurants and who can visit hospitals and nursing homes, and expanding when people can file for unemployment -- the outbreak is expected to have a deep impact on the economy and jobs market.

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