coronavirus

Protests, Crowds: What to Know Today About the Coronavirus Outbreak in New England

The latest update on coronavirus cases across the region

NBC Universal, Inc.

Here's a look at the latest news around New England related to the coronavirus pandemic:

MASSACHUSETTS

The city of Boston will enforce a new statewide order requiring people to wear masks or face coverings, Mayor Marty Walsh said Saturday.

In an interview with CNN, Walsh didn't say how he planned to enforce the order, issued by Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday. Violating the order, which takes effect May 6, could carry a fine of up to $300.

“I was hoping people would take the responsibility themselves,” Walsh said. `Clearly there are too many cases and situations where that's not happening.”

A statewide order goes into effect on May 6.

  The head of the UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester says there are 107 people in intensive care beds and he's calling it the``worst day we've ever had'' for intensive care usage at city hospitals.

The Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports Dr. Eric Dickson says the number of patients in ICU is up 20 from a week ago, which at that time was also a high-water mark But there is cause for cautious optimism.

Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty says the city has seen a “slight decline” in new cases. On Saturday, the state reported 130 new deaths, bringing to nearly 3,850 the total number of deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

State parks in Topsfield, Princeton and Saugus closed as they maxed out their capacity Saturday during the nice weather.

MAINE

Hundreds of protesters marched on the Maine governor's office on Saturday to protest the restrictions on movement and businesses prompted by the pandemic that's sweeping the region and the world.

Republican groups and some business groups have been complaining after Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced her four-step plan to gradually ease restrictions and allow some businesses to open again.

Critics claim Mills' plan will damage Maine's economy because it takes too long to reopen businesses.

The first phase of Maine's reopening began Friday with restrictions lifted on the use of golf courses, visits to the dentist, barbers and hairdressers, and stay-in-your-vehicle religious services.

Most state parks also opened. Mainers also were required to begin wearing masks in situations where social distancing was not possible.


With sunny skies, golfers began hitting the links Saturday during the first phase the reopening of Maine's economy.

"It's great. We're happy to be back at work," said Dan Hourihan, owner of Nonesuch Golf Club in Scarborough, Maine.

The clubhouse was closed and golfers had to pay in advance. Also, the golf course was required to eliminate ball washers and other items that multiple golfers might come into contact with.

"You've got to keep it in perspective,'' Hourihan said. "I'm satisfied because we're able to get back in business and provide a safe recreational opportunity. We're fortunate. I feel bad for some of these businesses that can't open."

Maine is among the 21 states in the country that began to reopen Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

VERMONT

The Vermont Department of Labor is reminding unemployed Vermonters that they must return to work if called back by their employer. While exceptions do exist, those who refuse to return to suitable work risk losing benefits.

Additionally, individuals who have been laid off or furloughed and are being paid through the federal Paycheck Protection Program are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

“As businesses are allowed to slowly reopen safely across the state, per the governor's executive order, we have heard from employers that individuals are refusing to work or accept their employment wages because they are `making more' on unemployment,” Interim Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington said in a statement.

On Saturday, the state reported seven new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to nearly 890 cases. The state also reported one more death, bringing the total to 51.


NEW HAMPSHIRE

 Hundreds of protesters descended on the New Hampshire capital on Saturday to protest restrictions on movement and businesses prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak that is sweeping the state, the nation and the world. The crowd was larger than a similar protest two weeks ago that drew several hundred people.

Some of the protesters were militia members wearing camouflage, with their faces covered and carrying weapons.


The U.S. Forest Service is reopening many of the trailheads it had closed in New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest.

Officials had shut down more than 100 trailheads, shelters, picnic areas in hopes of minimizing the spread of the coronavirus after reporting an unseasonably high number of visitors who were ``not able or willing'' to follow social distancing recommendations. They said Friday the decision to reopen the sites was based partly on safety concerns about illegal parking and the increasing pressure the closures put on state parks.

Officials said they will continue to implement a phased opening of the forest in alignment with state and local officials.

On Saturday, New Hampshire reported 121 new cases of COVID-19 bringing its total to more than 2,400. The state also reported three more deaths, bringing the total to 84.


RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said Saturday she was worried the good weather could prompt people to get together with friends, violating the state's stay at home order, which she hopes to lift on May 8.

“It's not the right thing to do,'' Raimondo said during her Saturday press briefing. “'I'm asking you to not give in to that temptation. We're not there yet. The stay at home order is not lifted. It may not be lifted on May 8th if everybody rushes out today and hangs out with their friends or has people over.”

On Saturday, the Rhode Island Department of Health reported 17 more deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the total of deaths caused by COVID-19 to 296.


Some Rhode Island grocery stores are limiting the amount of meat shoppers can buy.

The Providence Journal reports  Rhode Island grocery stories are seeing a spike in demand. But, unlike the run on toilet paper during the early days of the pandemic, merchants predict shoppers will have less difficulty finding beef, pork and chicken.


CONNECTICUT

Ninety-seven more people died in Connecticut from COVID-19 and the state's total number of cases rose to more than 29,000, state officials reported Saturday.

More than 100,000 people have been tested in the state, a number that could increase soon. Last week, state Epidemiologist Matthew Cartter said there could be 50,000 tests conducted in Connecticut per week by the end of May, compared to about 4,000 tests being done per week now.

Testing currently has focused heavily on front-line health care workers and ICU patients, but Gov. Ned Lamont has said there will be an emphasis on testing food service workers and other front-line employees, those working in factories and residents living in congested areas.

NBC and Associated Press
Contact Us