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New Bedford at 71 positive cases for COVID-19 on Tuesday, up from 65 on Monday

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell’s office reported Tuesday morning that New Bedford has a total of 71 positive cases of COVID-19, up from the 65 cases they reported on Saturday and up from 54 on Friday. The City did not report data on Sunday.

The City of New Bedford is slated to receive $1,624,151 in funding through the CDB20-COVID Recovery Grant Fund and $805,424 in funding though the ESG20-COVID Recovery Grant, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Full details here.

On April 6, the Massachusetts Public Health Department reported that the state added 1,337 more positive cases of COVID-19 bringing to total to 13,837. This is a significant increase over Sunday’s 764 reported cases and very close to Saturday’s 1,334 new cases. There appears to be a trend of low testing on Sundays. 29 new deaths were reported bringing the total deaths in Massachusetts to 260. Full details here.

According to Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan, Fall River now has 66 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday.

Bristol County is now up to 722 confirmed cases as of 4 pm on Monday, up from 659 on Saturday.

Brockton has seven times the amount of positive COVID-19 cases as comparably sized cities in Massachusetts like New Bedford and Fall River and 147 more cases than Worcester, which has almost 100,000 more people. Full details here.




Boston Police and FBI warn residents of COVID-19 scammers looking to hijack stimulus checks using a variety of methods

The Boston Police Department and FBI Warn Residents of Fraudulent Emails/Phone Calls from Scammers Looking to Hijack COVID-19 Stimulus Checks:

With millions of people out of work and hoping to receive COVID-19 stimulus checks, the Boston Police Department and FBI are warning community members to be leery and wary of scammers seeking personal information either through email or phone calls as a precondition for any federal aid. To be clear, the US government is not sending emails or making phone calls asking for any individual’s personal information in exchange for federal aid.

Sadly, while the large majority of law-abiding citizens are looking for ways to help, scammers are looking for ways to use the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them. Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.

In addition to the above, the FBI advises you to be on the lookout for the following:

Fake CDC Emails:
Watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus. Do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize. Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer and demand payment. Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received.

Phishing Emails:
Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:

• Charitable contributions
• General financial relief
• Airline carrier refunds
• Fake cures and vaccines
• Fake testing kits

Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment:

Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves.

More info on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh.

If you are looking for accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19, the CDC has posted extensive guidance and information that is updated frequently. The best sources for authoritative information on COVID-19 are www.cdc.gov and www.coronavirus.gov. You may also consult your primary care physician for guidance.

The FBI is reminding you to always use good cyber hygiene and security measures. By remembering the following tips, you can protect yourself and help stop criminal activity:

• Do not open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don’t recognize.
• Do not provide your username, password, date of birth, social security number, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or robocall.
• Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser.
• Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link. For example, an address that should end in a ‘.gov’ but ends in ‘.com’ instead.

In addition to filing a report with the Boston Police Department, victims are also encouraged to report suspicious activity through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Lastly, if someone knocks on your door or rings your bell claiming a need to enter your home or see personal information, do not allow them entry and call 9-1-1 immediately.




Baker, CVS Announce Expansion Of Rapid COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing In Massachusetts

The Baker-Polito Administration and CVS Monday announced the launch of a new rapid testing site in Lowell, which will enable on-the-spot COVID-19 testing and results at no cost. The new CVS site in Lowell will use the new Abbott ID NOW™ COVID-19 test. With the launch of this site, Massachusetts is the third state where CVS has launched rapid testing sites, joining Georgia and Rhode Island.

CVS Health will be transitioning its efforts to support COVID-19 testing in Mass. to the Lowell location, which allows for up to 1,000 patients to be tested per day and receive results on-site so they can properly quarantine or seek treatment as appropriate. As a result, the company will be halting COVID-19 testing at the original Shrewsbury pilot testing site.

“By working with a wide range of partners, we have dramatically increased Massachusetts’ COVID-19 testing capacity, and we are grateful to CVS for their partnership in launching this new rapid testing site,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The continued expansion of testing, along with our new efforts around community tracing, will enable the Commonwealth to better track and slow the spread of this virus.”

“Our initial experience in Massachusetts has enabled us to expand testing into other states while maximizing efficiency and safety,” said Troyen Brennan, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, CVS Health. “We are now able to significantly improve upon our testing capabilities in Massachusetts, greatly expanding access to testing with rapid results for eligible individuals.”

Similar to the CVS rapid COVID-19 test sites in Georgia and Rhode Island, testing at the Lowell site will be overseen by licensed health care providers from MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health. The rapid COVID-19 testing will take place in the parking lot of the Showcase Cinemas located at 32 Reiss Avenue, in Lowell, and no testing will take place at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic locations. Patients will need to pre-register in advance online at CVS.com in order to schedule a same-day time slot for testing.

Thanks to the efforts of public and private laboratories and health care partners, Massachusetts has dramatically increased COVID-19 testing capacity and output. In addition to the Department of Public Health’s State Public Health Laboratory, more than 22 public and private labs are completing testing. As of yesterday, 76,429 patients have been tested, with 4,492 tested yesterday alone. The Department of Public Health reports on cases and testing daily at Mass.Gov/covid19.

The Baker-Polito Administration will continue to update the public on developments related to COVID-19. Residents can visit www.mass.gov/covid19 for the latest information, call 2-1-1 with questions, and text “COVIDMA” to 888-777 to subscribe to text-alert updates.




CVS Health opening rapid COVID-19 drive-through testing at Twin Rivers Casino

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — To help support local communities and the overall health care system in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, CVS Health joined forces with federal and state officials to announce the opening of rapid COVID-19 drive-through testing sites in Georgia and Rhode Island. The test sites will bolster state efforts to manage the spread of the virus and provide on-the-spot test results.

CVS Health will utilize licensed health care providers from MinuteClinic, the company’s retail medical clinic, to oversee the testing, which is currently available at no-cost to patients. The company is applying the significant learnings gathered from its COVID-19 testing site opened in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts on March 19, to help maximize the efficiency and safety at these new sites. For example, testing at these new sites will be held in large parking lots that are easily accessible and able to accommodate multiple lanes of cars at one time and will require eligible individuals to pre-register online. COVID-19 testing will not take place at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic locations.

“Our MinuteClinic providers join countless other heroic health care professionals across the country and around the world in forming the first line of defense against this devastating virus,” said Troyen Brennan, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, CVS Health. “Thanks to our partnerships with state officials and the utilization of advanced technology, our providers will be able to test large numbers of people in these states and make real-time decisions about treatment and appropriate next steps.”

The rapid testing will be conducted using the new Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test, which recently received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of COVID-19. Positive results can be delivered in as little as five minutes and negative results in as little as 13 minutes.

“Increased access to rapid testing remains one of our top priorities in order to identify more cases, get Georgians the care they need, and prevent further infection in our communities,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “This unique, public-private partnership will strengthen our testing capability as we continue to take the fight to COVID-19 in Georgia, and we are grateful for CVS Health’s support to stop the spread of the virus.”

“Today marks a giant leap forward in our efforts to combat this virus. Thanks to the partnership and generosity of CVS Health, we will be able to double our testing capacity and provide on-the-spot results to thousands of Rhode Islanders each day. Making testing rapid and readily available is the key to slowly reopening our economy, and today we are one step closer to that goal,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo.

Rapid COVID-19 testing will be available to eligible individuals who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to state residency and age guidelines. Patients will need to pre-register in advance online at CVS.com in order to schedule a same-day time slot for testing.

The test site will be located at Georgia Tech (352 Peachtree Place, Atlanta, GA, 30332) in Georgia and at Twin River Casino (100 Twin River Road, Lincoln, RI, 02865) in Rhode Island. For more information and to register for a test, please visit CVS.com.




1,337 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts as U.S. passes 10,000 deaths

On April 6, the Massachusetts Public Health Department reported that the state added 1,337 more positive cases of COVID-19 bringing to total to 13837. This is a significant increase over Sunday’s 764 reported cases and very close to Saturday’s 1,334 new cases. There appears to be a trend of low testing on Sundays. 29 new deaths were reported bringing the total deaths in Massachusetts to 260.

As of 4 pm today, 76,429 people in Massachusetts have been tested for COVID-19 – 4,492 in the past 24 hours.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell’s office reported Monday morning that New Bedford has a total of 65 positive cases of COVID-19, up from the 54 cases they reported on Saturday and up from 49 on Friday. The City did not report data on Sunday. Full details here.

At 4:30 pm today, Fall River reported 66 cases of COVID-19. Full details here.

Brockton has seven times the amount of positive COVID-19 cases as comparably sized cities in Massachusetts like New Bedford and Fall River and 147 more cases than Worcester, which has almost 100,000 more people. Full details here.

Earlier this week, Governor Baker detailed the latest model projections that estimate the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts could range from 47,000 to 172,000 (or 0.7% to 2.5% of the total population of Massachusetts). The models show hospitalizations would potentially peak between April 10-20. Full details here.

As of April 6, the total amount of cases in The United States is 352,546 with 10,389 total deaths.




Why does Brockton have 7 times the COVID-19 cases as Fall River and New Bedford?

Brockton has seven times the amount of positive COVID-19 cases as comparably sized cities in Massachusetts like New Bedford and Fall River and 147 more cases than Worcester, which has almost 100,000 more people.

As of Sunday, Brockton’s Board of Health reported 457 people in the city have tested positive and 2 people have died. Fall River reported 62 cases on Sunday and New Bedford reported 65 cases on Monday. New Bedford had 95,120 residents, Fall River had 89,420 residnets and Brockton had 95,672 people.

Worcester, the second largest city in Massachusetts with 184,045 residents, reported 310 positive COVID-19 cases on Saturday far from Brockton’s 457. Quincy, even closer to Boston than Brockton, reported on Sunday that it has 174 cases with a population of 94,166. That puts Brockton with nearly three times as many cases as Quincy.

The missing pieces are the testing numbers – could Brockton be testing far more people? Testing numbers are hard to come by as local hospitals and public health officials aren’t releasing those numbers. The Massachusetts Public Health does release total testing numbers for the state, but not by county, city or town – though they do list positive cases by county.

Why do you think Brockton has so many more cases than cities like New Bedford, Fall River, Quincy and Worcester? Comment below!




New Bedford to receive $2.4 million in COVID Recovery Grants

The following was posted by Massachusetts Representative (New Bedford) Antonio F. D. Cabral:

“The City of New Bedford is slated to receive $1,624,151 in funding through the CDB20-COVID Recovery Grant Fund and $805,424 in funding though the ESG20-COVID Recovery Grant, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

These Community Development Block Grants and Emergency Shelter Grants will allow the City of New Bedford to better address homelessness and support transitional housing, and to obtain housing assistance for low-income individuals.

I am grateful for HUD’s quick action in disseminating these grant funds to high-need cities throughout the country, and for our Massachusetts congressional delegation’s persistence. New Bedford needs this emergency investment funding.”




Boston Mayor Walsh: Everyone Wear a Mask When Leaving Home

People across Massachusetts started wearing masks in public in noticeable numbers Saturday, adjusting to the latest aspect of the new COVID-19 normal a day after new federal guidance recommended “simple cloth face coverings” in public settings.

The Centers for Disease Control said cloth face coverings could ‘slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.” The government said coverings could be made from household items at home, and was a voluntary measure.

At a press conference with first responders Sunday in Foxborough, Gov. Charlie Baker at one point waved his own hands to emphasize that hands “are in many respects one of the primary carriers of this thing” and people need to be vigilant about hand-washing, using sanitizer, and wiping down doorknobs and surfaces.

“One of the things they have said about masks is it keeps your hands away from your mouth, which is also a good thing,” Baker said.

The governor explained his understanding about the guidance, saying the “primary purpose” of it is to have people wear masks when in places where social distancing is difficult to ensure they don’t infect someone else.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure we continue to engage in the social distancing,” Baker said, flanked by a backdrop of mostly law enforcement officials who were not wearing masks.

In its new guidance, the CDC said, “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (‘asymptomatic’) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (‘pre-symptomatic’) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.”

Baker called the Centers for Disease Control guidance “perfectly appropriate.”

A few hours later at Boston City Hall, Mayor Martin Walsh held a coronavirus update, standing at a podium with a backdrop of people wearing masks, and talking about his plans to wear one made by a city councilor.

Walsh said 15 people have died in Boston from COVID-19 and confirmed cases rose 27 percent over 48 hours.

“That’s what a surge looks like and we are still at the beginning of the surge,” the mayor said.

Walsh’s messaging on masks differed from Baker’s.

“I’m asking everyone and anyone to wear a mask covering their face when you leave your house,” Walsh said. “That means shopping, going for a walk. That means working on a construction site or at work. Any essential workers, we’re asking you to do the same. Anything outside your home.”

Scarfs, bandanas or any type of cloth may be used for a mask, Walsh said, and people should make sure they are able to breath comfortably while wearing masks. The city is providing masks to its employees who must work outside their homes, he said, and helping others to acquire masks.

“We can all help slow the spread by covering our faces,” he said. “It’s imporant to understand that covering does not protect you from infection. Physical distancing is still one hundred percent necessary. You need to keep at least six feet away from other people even when you are wearing a face covering, but face coverings will help slow the spread of the virus. That’s because up to about 25 percent of the people who are infected are not showing symptoms right now. Many are still out and about because they don’t feel sick.”

The mayor said he would be wearing a face covering made by City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, who is part of the Boston Area Mask Initiative. His press office released a photo of the mayor wearing a mask.

The initiative indicated on its website Monday that more than 110 organizations have requested masks, with more than 15,000 masks sought and more than 5,400 masks sewn and distributed so far.




New Bedford at 65 positive cases for COVID-19 on Monday, up from 54 on Saturday

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell’s office reported Monday morning that New Bedford has a total of 65 positive cases of COVID-19, up from the 54 cases they reported on Saturday and up from 49 on Friday. The City did not report data on Sunday.

The City of New Bedford Board of Health Friday afternoon issued a cease and desist order to the Walgreens store located at 1103 Kempton Street. Earlier this week and month, Walgreens confirmed that three of their employees tested positive for COVID-19. Full details here.

You can see our interview with Mayor Mitchell on Friday:

On April 5, the Massachusetts Public Health Department reported that the state added 764 more positive cases of COVID-19 bringing to total to 12,500. 764 is a significant drop from yesterday when 1,334 new cases were reported. 15 new deaths were reported bringing the total deaths in Massachusetts to 231.

As of 4 pm Sunday, 71,937 people in Massachusetts have been tested for COVID-19 – 3,137 in the past 24 hours. The testing is down from 5,838 on Saturday. Full details and breakout by county here.

According to Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan, Fall River now has 62 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday.

Bristol County is now up to 659 confirmed cases as of 4 pm on Sunday, up from 517 on Saturday.

Last week, Governor Baker detailed the latest model projections that estimate the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts could range from 47,000 to 172,000 (or 0.7% to 2.5% of the total population of Massachusetts). The models show hospitalizations would potentially peak between April 10-20. Full details here.




Boston Mayor: Nearly half of our positive COVID-19 tests are people under 40

As of April 5, there are 1,877 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Boston residents, representing an increase of 259 cases from the previous day. Public health modeling indicates that Boston is only 11 days away from peak demand for hospital resources, an estimate that emphasizes the critical need to flatten the curve immediately.

“I cannot stress enough that the actions we take now through the next several weeks will help curb the spread of this virus, and save lives,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “There is nothing that I won’t do as Mayor of the City of Boston to protect our residents, and at this very critical time, we must do everything we can as Bostonians to protect one another. This is bigger than any one person – this is about the greater good of our people. Stay safe, stay inside, and let’s get through this together.”

To date, nearly 45 percent of positive tests in Boston are in people under the age of 40 and more cases of severe illness are now being seen in young people. Further, nearly 80 percent of positive tests are in people under the age of 60. The CDC estimates that nationally 25 percent of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, and may not know they are a carrier of the virus, or that they could be infecting others. As of April 5, 15 residents of Boston have died from COVID-19.

Social and physical distancing remain the primary strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The new measures that Mayor Walsh is putting into place strengthen the guidance previously issued around social and physical distancing, which include staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of 6 feet or more from others. These new measures will be effective on Monday, April 6 through Monday, May 4, 2020, and include:

Encouraging everyone to wear a face-covering over their mouth and nose when in public:

– In addition to social distancing when going out in public for an essential trip, wearing face covers will help to reduce the risk of a person spreading the virus, especially if they do not know they are sick. Face coverings should be worn anytime someone is outside the home, including on walks or other passive recreational activities.
Face coverings should not be placed on children under 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
– Face coverings can include a cloth, scarf, bandana, etc. that cover a person’s mouth and nose. Homemade face coverings should be made of intact, close-weave cloth and allow comfortable breathing. Visit CDC guidelines on face coverings for more information and guidance.
– Face coverings should be frequently washed using a washing machine with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. They can also be hand washed with soap and warm water and left to dry.
– It is advised that residents use a face covering, as opposed to a medical grade facemasks, in order to preserve protective equipment for health workers and those serving on the front lines in response to COVID-19.

The Boston Public Health Commission is issuing a Public Health Advisory for everyone in Boston except essential workers to stay at home from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily:

– This advisory will address unnecessary trips to businesses, restaurants, and other locations, and is intended to encourage people to stay inside their homes at night.
– Residents are encouraged to utilize delivery services as much as possible after 9 p.m.
– As a reminder, residents are encouraged to remain in their homes as much as possible throughout the day and only leave for essential needs, including trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, emergency meal sites and other essential services. Residents are discouraged from visiting essential businesses only to browse and should be mindful of only visiting essential businesses to pick-up essential items.

Closing City parks with recreational sports areas:

– Recreational sports areas in City parks, such as courts and fields, will be closed to limit exposure and contact between people. As a reminder, all playgrounds in Boston have been closed since March 20, 2020 and will remain closed. Areas for passive recreation, like walking and jogging, will remain open.
– Additional signage will be posted on all recreational sports areas and outside of parks that will be closed. For a full list of park features that are closed, please visit the Parks updates webpage.
– If needed, Boston Police are empowered to disperse gatherings and they can order people to vacate closed sections of parks.

Recommendations for people who are at higher risk:

– For people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions, the City of Boston encourages taking extra precautions. Trips outside the house should only be made when absolutely necessary, for either food or medications. Those experiencing difficulty with access to food, please call 311 or visit our food resources page for assistance.
– In addition, taking walks or spending time outside is discouraged for the next few weeks, and exercising inside the home instead is encouraged as an alternative.
– The underlying health conditions that can put someone more at risk are very common and include asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, kidney or liver disease or conditions that can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment and smoking.
– In Boston, over 11 percent of adults have asthma, and the rate is higher in black (15 percent) and Latino (12 percent) residents, as well as in Dorchester and Roxbury (15 percent each). One in four Boston public high school students have asthma, according to the Boston Public Health Commission.

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