coronavirus

What You Need to Know Today About the Coronavirus Outbreak in New England

The latest update on coronavirus cases across the region

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

MASSACHUSETTS

Questions have arisen over whether or not the Bay State will reopen next week as scheduled.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday that Boston will not reopen on May 4, when the state's non-essential business closures and stay-at-home advisory are currently set to expire.

"There is no question that May 4 is too early," Walsh said. "I can tell you right now Boston will not reopen on May 4."

Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that he will make a decision this week on whether or not to extend the shutdown as the state begins to see a plateau in the number of new coronavirus cases.

"We believe it's important for us to create some clarity around this with respect to May 4, and you'll hear from us later this week on that," Baker said. "The trend data remains reasonably high. We'll be putting something out later this week."


Massachusetts health officials on Monday reported 104 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the state's death toll from the outbreak to 3,003.

According to the Department of Public Health, the number of coronavirus cases rose by 1,524, bringing the total number of people infected with COVID-19 to 56,462.

Non-essential businesses in Boston will not be opening back up at the start of next week.

MAINE

Maine's governor says the state's stay-at-home order will likely be extended. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, issued a stay-at-home order on March 31, and it is due to expire on Thursday.

She says the state is moving toward a phased-in reopening of its economy, but it's likely still too soon.

Mills also said Monday she asked two key advisory committees on economic forecasting and state revenues to meet earlier than normal as her administration plans for what's expected to be a major budget crisis.

The Maine CDC says the state recorded eight new cases of coronavirus and another death. There have now been more than 1,000 confirmed cases and 51 deaths in the state.


Airports around Maine are getting more than $6 million in federal funding to make improvements while they cope with the impact of reduced travel.

The largest grant is a grant of more than $3.2 million to Wiscasset Airport to make runway improvements.

The state's largest airport, Portland International Jetport, will get more than $2.2 million to construct and rehabilitate the taxiway.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, said investing in airport infrastructure will help make sure airports in Maine are able to maintain their roles as major job creators.

The economy in Maine could be the most vulnerable to damage brought on by the pandemic.

VERMONT

A limited number of Vermonters are returning to work this week and must abide by safety precautions after Republican Gov. Phil Scott eased some of the restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

But Scott warned Monday that things aren't back to normal. The stay-home order remains in effect.

The number of workers in construction and similar trades who may work at the same job site was expanded to five, as long as they practice social distancing and wear face coverings.

Manufacturing and distribution operations may resume operations with up to five workers. Outdoor retail spaces can reopen in-person shopping, with certain limits.

Gov. Phil Scott has outlined some phased steps to begin reopen the state's economy.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

State officials say New Hampshire hopes to be testing 1,500 people per day for the coronavirus in the coming weeks.

A program to test longterm care facility workers in two counties is expanding statewide, and five new testing sites for the general public are being set up.

While a doctor's referral will still be necessary, health care providers now are being advised to recommend testing for anyone with even slight symptoms of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Sununu says a task force on reopening the economy will start making recommendations by the end of the week.


The New Hampshire chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is raising concerns about the state providing first responders with the names of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

State officials say the release is permitted under a provision of the federal health privacy law that allows information to be disclosed for the greater benefit of protecting public health.

The information is the minimum necessary to allow first responders to limit their potential exposure to the virus. The executive director of the state ACLU says it is alarming that private medical information is being shared without people's consent.  

A stay-at-home order has been issued in New Hampshire until May 4 but Gov. Chris Sununu said it's possible that could be extended.

RHODE ISLAND

Gov. Gina Raimondo says her goal is still to lift the state's stay-at-home order on May 8 and the next day start a methodical economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democrat on Monday unveiled a website, reopeningri.com, that lays out a phased plan to get the state back to work.

She said the plan is flexible and subject to change if there is a surge in new cases.

The state on Monday reported seven news deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total number of fatalities from the disease to 233. The state also reported 269 news cases for a total of more than 7,700. 


CONNECTICUT

Gov. Ned Lamont said he expects to make some "very preliminary" decisions about reopening parts of Connecticut's economy in about one week-to-10 days.

On Monday, he noted how the state has had seven days of mostly declining hospitalizations for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, advocates who allege Connecticut prison inmates are being put at risk of COVID-19 are focusing their efforts in federal court after a state Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, a team of investigators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and members of the Connecticut National Guard are scheduled to help with state inspections of Connecticut's nursing homes.


Colleges and universities across Connecticut are looking at public health guidance and contingency plans as they consider resuming in-person classes this fall amid the pandemic.

Officials at schools including the University of Connecticut, Yale University and Wesleyan University haven't made final decisions yet.  

UConn President Thomas Katsouleas has told faculty, staff and students to prepare for the possibility of the continuation of online teaching this fall. He expects a decision by June 30.

Some schools are reporting big financial losses with the cancellation of summer programming. Students are also in limbo.  

Nine breweries from the Connecticut Brewers Guild collaborated to create a new limited release beer, the Guild Pils, with proceeds going to unemployed hospitality workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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