BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency on Tuesday due to the ongoing concerns about coronavirus. Baker made the announcement during a press conference at the State House.

Health officials announced on Tuesday there are 51 new cases, bringing the state’s total of positive tests to 92. Of those cases, 70 were connected to a Biogen employee conference at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston at the end of February.

On Monday, there were 41 cases in the state.

“We believe it’s important to start taking more aggressive action now to mitigate spread based on the information we have available,” Baker said. “There’s no question the efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus will be disruptive. We expect this disruption to continue for the foreseeable future and understand it will cause inconvenience for many. But our goal needs to be to significantly increase efforts to mitigate the spread of this disease now.”

Baker said executive branch employees will discontinue work-related foreign and domestic travel until further notice. Conferences, seminars and other gatherings hosted by executive branch agencies involving external parties will be held virtually or canceled.

“The Commonwealth is one of the largest employers, so we have a significant role to play in mitigating the spread of this virus. We urge all employers and large organizations to follow suit where it is appropriate for them to do so,” Baker said.

WATCH: Gov. Baker Explains State Of Emergency

 

Baker said older adults and people with health issues should avoid large crowds whenever possible. But the governor said because many of those people need to use the MBTA, efforts to disinfect stations will continue.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is providing local schools with relief from attendance and school year requirements so schools can make decisions to close if the opportunity arises due to coronavirus. The longest any school will be required to go is its 185th scheduled day.

“I would have to say the risk has increased,” said Baker. “But again, that’s part of the reason for the guidance we put out there with respect to the way we think we are going to act as an employer. We would like to see other employers do similar things.”

The last state of emergency for Massachusetts was issued in September 2018 for the Merrimack Valley gas explosions.

“We urge all of our residents to do their part to stay informed to keep the Commonwealth safe and healthy,” Baker said.

Baker echoed what Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said earlier in the day regarding the Boston Marathon, saying a decision will be made at a later date if it will go on. But in general, Baker said “large gatherings probably aren’t a good idea” at the current time.

“I fully expect a decision is going to be made soon,” Baker said.

Comments (14)
  1. Jimmy Dean says:

    So, does that mean we continue to get a paycheck from our jobs?

  2. Chris Jennings says:

    Odds are, on Monday there were 92 cases. Declaring a state of emergency isn’t going to slow it, and the folks testing positive tomorrow, already had it today. Flights still landing in Logan? I guess they’re not that concerned.

  3. Marge says:

    When the weather gets warmer the flu season will end, as will the mass hysteria and COVID. So don’t cancel, postpone the marathon until Memorial Day weekend or after. If the elites can’t come, all the better. The marathon is much better without them.

    1. Me says:

      I guess you know better than the WHO experts who say that this virus is unlikely to wane in summer.

    2. LXIX says:

      April 20th is unfortunately not a long enough period of time to see case counts decline, even with the virus preferring a specific temperature range. WHO/CDC suggests the “optimal” temperature for COVID-19 to spread is 47 degrees. That’s not uncommon in April. Large gatherings make for easy spread, and I imagine they’ll be cautious and at least move it out. While this isn’t Ebola, it’s also not the flu either. COVID-19 has 20x the number of severe cases to the common flu, and about 10x the mortality rate.

    3. Jean W says:

      Singapore, the size of Rhode Island and has a year round temperature of 86 degrees with high humidity, has 166 cases with 12 in critical conditions. Warm weather is not going to slow down COVID-19. Wall Street knows it, that’s why it’s nosediving.

  4. Ploni Almoni says:

    This is too little too late. In a few weeks we’ll be at the state that Italy is in now, with a collapsed healthcare system and hundreds dying every day.

    1. InTheBellyOfTheBeast says:

      Completely absurd. They’re going to end up hurting more people with their draconian measures than they would if they just let the damn thing run it’s course. By this “logic”, Baker should declare a State of Emergency literally every flu season.

      1. s says:

        But this is way way way more serious than the flu, there’s no medicine for it yet.

  5. Alex Mikhailichenko says:

    The only solution is to lock it. Do the Chinese way.

  6. L says:

    “The longest any school will be required to go is its 185th scheduled day.” Can someone clarify? This is the current number of school days required. This would not be a change.

    1. Okie Dokie says:

      School runs 180 days. They have 185 days built in to the schedule to pad for snow days or any other school closures that are not on the schedule. This basically means that even if the kids are out of school for a month, they won’t be required to go to more than the 185th day on the school calendar (more than 5 make up days total).

      1. MM says:

        This only applies if the days are after April 1st all days including and before March 31st have to be made up and rescheduled as full days any days after April 1st will be made up till the 185 built in days or a total of 180 days whichever comes first

  7. fmc says:

    Will Baker keep those who are quarantined in a room?

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