Update: Four more die in Massachusetts from virus-related illness
BOSTON — Four more people in Massachusetts have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
State health officials said Monday the total number of COVID-19 deaths now stands at nine. The number of confirmed cases is 777 out of more than 8,900 tests that have been administered.
Nearly 80 people have been hospitalized since the start of the outbreak.
On Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide essential services to close by noon on Tuesday.
Workplaces and buildings must close to workers, customers and the public until April 7 at noon, according to a statement from the governor's office. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely, the governor's office said.
Baker's administration also issued a list of designated businesses and other organizations that provide essential services and workforces related to the COVID-19 outbreak that will be permitted to continue operations in their own buildings during this two-week time period. This list is based on federal guidance and the needs of the state's economy, Baker's office said.
These essential businesses and organizations are urged to follow social distancing protocols for workers, per the state Department of Public Health.
Restaurants, bars and other establishments that sell food and beverage products to the public are encouraged to continue to offer takeout and delivery, with social distancing practices in use. Dine-in food or drink is prohibited, Baker's office said.
Baker also directed the state Department of Public Health to issue a stay-at-home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing protocols; this is not a home confinement order.
The DPH advises residents to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities until the two-week order is lifted.
Residents who are 70 or older or who have underlying health conditions should limit social interactions, the state recommends.
However, Baker's statement said that his administration does not believe residents of the commonwealth can be confined to their homes and currently does not support home confinement.
The state also has ordered limits on gatherings to up to 10 people, a reduction from the 25-person limit established earlier in the outbreak.
These gatherings include community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, and any similar event or activity that brings together more than 10 persons indoors or in a confined outdoor space. The order does not prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people in an outdoor space, such as a park or athletic field.
Categories of COVID-19 essential services:
- Health care and public health
- Law enforcement, public safety and first responders
- Food and agriculture
- Critical manufacturing
- Water and wastewater
- Public works
- Communications and information technology
- Financial services
- Defense industry base
- Chemical Manufacturing & Hazardous Materials
- Other designated community-based essential function
- Government operations
- News media
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.