What You Need 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:


The number of COVID-19-related deaths in Massachusetts topped 3,500 on Thursday as the state works to reign in the spread of the coronavirus.

The state reported 157 new deaths -- a drop from the 252 reported on Wednesday, the state's highest single day death tally. The new tally brought to 3,562 the total number of COVID-19-related deaths recorded in Massachusetts since the start of the pandemic.

The number of deaths that occurred at long-term care facilities topped 2,100, accounting for more than half of all deaths.

The state also reported more than 1,900 new cases of the coronavirus for a total of more than 62,200 confirmed cases since the pandemic's start.

More than 1,100 COVID-19 patients are currently in intensive care units.

The state also recorded another small decline in the number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 -- down to about 3,800. Gov. Charlie Baker has said a significant decline in the hospitalization number is key to reopening the state's economy, now planned to begin May 18.

A contact tracing initiative launched by Massachusetts to help slow the spread of the coronavirus has already reached out to about 5,000 individuals, Gov. Charlie Baker said at a press conference Thursday.

The state has hired about 1,000 workers to make the contacts. The goal of the program is to call individuals who are confirmed to have COVID-19 and then reach out to individuals with whom they have had recent close contact.

At first public health officials were expecting that the list of contacts would average about 10. Instead, the average number of contacts is closer to two _ a tribute to the effort by the state's residents to maintain social distancing, Baker said.

The calls, which also offer help in self-isolating, tend to be longer than initially anticipated.

"It's not a clinical conversation per se, it is a trust conversation. People are asking questions. People are looking for information," Baker said. "It is a much more free flowing and open dialogue than I think a lot of the people who are doing this were expecting.''

Baker said calls from the contact tracing team will come with an 833 or 857 area code to show up as MACOVID Team on caller ID.

Gov. Charlie Baker is urging people to participate in contact tracing if they get a call from the state, which he stressed is a key component in mitigating the spread of coronavirus.


The first phase of the reopening of Maine's economy is beginning with residents able to return to businesses such as hair salons, car dealerships and car washes.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has announced a phased-in reopening of Maine, which has had more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus, a far fewer total than hard-hit southern New England states. The reopening starts Friday.

Maine residents are now required to wear cloth face coverings in public spaces where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. The state remains under a stay-at-home order until May 31, but residents are now able to engage in activities deemed safe by the state.

A Maine company that makes specialized swabs for coronavirus testing is teaming up with a construction company and a defense contractor to boost production.

Officials say Cianbro is providing a building in Pittsfield and helping set up a new production line for Puritan Medical Products; Bath Iron Works is making 30 machines that Puritan needs to increase production.

The Trump administration is providing $75.5 million to Puritan through the Defense Production Act to boost its monthly production. Sen. Susan Collins says Puritan's production will double to 40 million of the swabs per month. Officials say the effort will create as many as 150 jobs. 

A coronavirus outbreak hit a Tyson meat processing plant in Portland that has hundreds of employees.


Several May Day rallies are planned around Vermont to show solidarity with essential workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Community groups and labor unions are planning car caravans on Friday in Burlington and Brattleboro on International Workers Day.

At the Burlington event, participants plan to drive by the University of Vermont Medical Center, Vermont Department of Labor, the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility and the Hannaford Supermarket. 

Vermont is continuing to monitor some traffic at its borders to see how many out-of-state vehicles are entering the state amid the coronavirus outbreak though is scaling back the effort.

The Bennington Banner reports that the monitoring started on April 1, with 38 high-priority border crossings staffed. This week that dropped to 30 border crossings with Canada, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts being monitored for less time.

Gov. Phil Scott says the data can be used to help determine the effect of measures to slow the spread of the virus. So far in Vermont, 866 people have tested positive for the virus, and 49 have died.

A nonprofit arts organization in Vermont is hoping to lift spirits with free online concerts.


U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire have joined a group of senators requesting support for childcare in the next coronavirus relief package.

In a letter to Senate leadership, the group requests a $50 billion investment to stabilize the childcare industry, provide childcare for essential workers and invest in childcare to help support long-term economic recovery.

Also, the Prescott Arts Festival in New Hampshire has canceled its summer season because of the coronavirus pandemic. John Tabor, chairman of the Portsmouth festival's board of directors, tells it was a gut-wrenching decision. 

A task force on reopening New Hampshire's economy has made its first set of recommendations without waiting for the public to finish weighing in. The Governor's Economic Reopening Task Force hosted a public input session Thursday afternoon and has another set for Friday morning.

In between, it approved draft plans for restaurants, retail stores, hair salons, campgrounds and drive-in movies. The plans will be reviewed by public health officials and Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who will announce details Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a cargo plane delivered over 110,000 pounds of personal protective equipment to New Hampshire, including 4.5 million masks for Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide.  

A New Hampshire boy is helping people in need and inspiring his neighbors through his art.


A Brown University student has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Ivy League school seeking reimbursement for tuition, room, board and other expenses associated with the campus closure in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The suit filed Thursday in federal court in Providence alleges breach of contract and unjust enrichment on the part of the school.

College students enrolled in classes when the COVID-19 oubreak struck were left with no access to their dorms, to classrooms, campus cafeterias or other facilities they paid to use," Steve Berman, an attorney representing the students, said in a statement.

We believe there's absolutely no reason why they should continue to be stuck holding the bill for tens of thousands of dollars, only to be kicked off campus.'' An email seeking comment was sent to a Brown spokesman.

The city of Providence is reopening some parks and closing about 13 miles of city streets to vehicular traffic starting Saturday to give residents more space to stretch their legs and get some fresh air during the coronavirus pandemic.

When the city shut down parks last month, residents took to the sidewalks, which made it difficult to maintain social distancing, according to a statement from the city Planning and Development Department.

When walking in the streets, residents will be required to limit family groups to five or less, wear masks and stay at least six feet apart from other groups.

By re-imagining our largest public asset - our streets - we will immediately provide our residents with space right outside their doors to stay active," Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a statement.

The new coronavirus has claimed another 13 lives in Rhode Island, bringing the state's death toll from the pandemic to 215, the state Department of Health reported Saturday. There were 430 news cases of the disease, for a total of more than 7,100 positive cases, the agency said.


Newly released data shows nursing home patients account for the majority of deaths in Connecticut related to COVID19. The data show the number of nursing home deaths confirmed by tests to be coronavirus related and those listed as "probable'' for COVID-19, totaled 1,249.

The state has attributed 2,257 total deaths to the coronavirus. According to the state, 26% of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes resulted in death. That is up from 23% a week ago. The state also released coronavirus data Thursday for the first time for 54 assisted living facilities. It showed 698 either confirmed or suspected cases there.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday the state on May 20 will begin the first step in a multi-stage process of reopening Connecticut. Outdoor dining at restaurants will be allowed and remaining retail establishments, hair and nail services, outdoor exhibits at zoos and museums, camping and university research will be allowed to restart.

It's expected to take months for the rest of society to gradually restart after the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the state's largest teachers union is Lamont to be cautious before deciding whether to reopen schools this spring. The governor said an announcement is expected next week.

Contact Us