BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Tuesday the state is launching a text alert system for residents to receive the latest coronavirus news.
People can text “COVIDMA” to 888777 to sign up. Baker said anyone who signs up will receive one or two alerts a day about news, updates, public health tips and alerts on services.
“Throughout the outbreak, we’ve constantly reminded residents that we need to get our information, your information from trusted sources,” said Baker. “Today we are making that easier with a new program. Today we are announcing a new tool, Alerts MA in our efforts to inform the public about COVID-19 which will enable you to get up to date alerts about coronavirus sent right to your phone.”
Today we're introducing another way that you can stay connected and informed during the #COVID19 outbreak.
➡️📱Text "COVIDMA" to 888-777 to receive COVID-19 text message alerts straight to your phone and stay up to date with the latest news + updates from the Commonwealth. pic.twitter.com/Tof5DRokRQ
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) March 24, 2020
“We’re not looking to bombard folks and add to the information overload many already feel. Most days we will only push out one or two notifications,” said Baker.
Baker said the state continues to make “big progress” on coronavirus testing. There have now been about 9,000 tests completed in Massachusetts, up from about 6,000 on Sunday.
As of Monday, there are 777 cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts. Nine deaths have been reported.
Baker issued an order on Monday that all non-essential businesses must close. It went into effect Tuesday at noon.
“We know that these measures that we’ve outlined yesterday are going to be very difficult and inconvenient for many but our goal right now is to slow the spread of the virus by limiting opportunity for person to person content. Taking action now to limit the spread of the virus will give our public our public health officials, our health care community and others, time and opportunity to meet the challenge ahead of us.”
During his press conference, Baker criticized members of Congress for letting partisan politics get in the way of a coronavirus aid package.
Baker also announced he introduced a new bill that could allow for extending tax deadlines, forgiving project permit expirations, and allow schools to adjust MCAS and graduation requirements.
The state is also considering allowing beer and wine to be sold with takeout orders.