Massachusetts: Latest updates on coronavirus

The George Washington Monument at the Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Last updated March 26 at 6:11 pm E.D.T.

As of March 26, Massachusetts is reporting 2,417 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 25 deaths associated with the virus, according to the state government. This makes it 7th in the list of states for the most US coronavirus cases. Confirmed cases have been reported in 13 out of 14 counties in the state. More than 23,500 people have taken diagnostic tests in the state.

To sign up for text alerts from the state government about COVID-19, text COVIDMA to 888777.

Shoppers are now barred from bringing reusable bags due to a temporary repeal of local plastic bag bans, according to Boston.com. During this time, grocery stores and pharmacies are not allowed to charge for plastic bags. This policy change came about because of concerns that reusable bags could carry COVID-19, as well as ramped up lobbying efforts from the plastics industry, Politico reported

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announced on March 25 that schools and daycares will stay closed until Monday, May 4, according to Boston.com

Baker has also ordered all nonessential businesses to close their walk-in stores by 12 noon Tuesday (March 24) and has asked that all public gatherings involve no more than 10 people, according to Boston.com. The governor asked that the state's Department of Public Health issue a "stay at home advisory," which would still allow people to go outdoors for their mental and physical wellbeing, as long as they followed social distancing.

"I do not believe I can — or should — order U.S. citizens to be confined to their homes for days on end," Baker said, according to Boston.com. "It doesn't make sense from a public health point of view, and it’s not realistic."

Baker declared a state of emergency on March 10, giving his administration more flexibility to respond to the outbreak. On March 15, the governor issued an emergency order prohibiting on-premises consumption of food and beverages at bars and restaurants from March 17 to April 6. 

In addition, the Department of Public Health issued visitor restrictions for hospitals and assisted living facilities, and mandated that hospitals cancel nonessential elective procedures. 

Here is a breakdown of infections per county:

  • Barnstable: 67
  • Berkshire: 73
  • Bristol: 90
  • Dukes and Nantucket: 3
  • Essex: 247
  • Franklin: 16
  • Hampden: 55
  • Hampshire: 17
  • Middlesex: 538
  • Nantucket: 0
  • Norfolk: 292
  • Plymouth: 138
  • Suffolk: 448
  • Worcester: 166
  • Unknown: 267

Coronavirus in the US: Map, case counts and news

Originally published on Live Science. 

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