BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday the city is monitoring coronavirus developments “literally hour-by-hour” as they consider whether it will become necessary to issue a shelter-in-place order for residents.

Walsh said he currently does not see a need to issue such an order.

There are currently 45 coronavirus cases in Boston. Walsh expects that number to be updated later in the day.

“Inevitably, there could be possibly a reason to shelter in place. Right now, we’re monitoring this literally hour-by-hour to see where we are in that particular situation,” said Walsh. “I think when that comes, that’s a very serious step we would have to take, and it’s something none of us should take lightly. We also should be aggressive in the fact that if we think it would make a big difference in the spread or stop the coronavirus in its tracks, that’s something I would push for.”

During his Wednesday press conference, Walsh again stressed the importance of social distancing and remaining home if at all possible.

“We’re asking people to stay home if possible, practice social distancing – at least six feet apart, wash your hands with soap and warm to hot water as well as hand sanitizer throughout the day,” said Walsh. “We want you to cover your mouth when you cough or you sneeze. If you are sick, please isolate yourself – stay home. Call your healthcare provider.”

Walsh said Boston City Hall remains open, but he asked residents to only come in with emergency matters that cannot be handled online.

Residents are encouraged to check on the elderly while also maintaining social distance.

“Share messages of comfort and support to each other. Touch base by a phone call, a text,” Walsh said.

Walsh said there are no plans to close homeless shelters, but the city is putting in place special measures to keep coronavirus from spreading.

Tents are going up in some locations to help test and treat the homeless population as part of a plan being established to isolate any homeless person who becomes sick.

Walsh said the city has heard concerns from seniors over food access. Most food pantry sites for seniors are using a grab and go package with special precautions around social distancing and cleaning.

“If seniors have an issue with food access, we ask you to please reach out to 311,” said Walsh.

Any resident with coronavirus concerns can call 311, text BOSCOVID to 99411, or visit the City of Boston’s website.


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