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With Reminder Of Travel And Parties, Gov. Baker Launches New PSA

Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, along with Gov. Charlie Baker, speaks during a press conference at the Massachusetts State House in Boston on Nov. 18, 2020. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, along with Gov. Charlie Baker, speaks during a press conference at the Massachusetts State House in Boston on Nov. 18, 2020. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

A new public awareness campaign that state officials launched Monday links the importance of COVID-19 precautions like wearing masks, getting tested and maintaining distance to an eventual return of experiences like travel, birthday parties, and spending time with relatives.

"It's a reminder that we must continue to fight so we can get back to the things we love to do," Gov. Charlie Baker said.

The #GetBackMass ads are slated to run through February, which will mark a year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Massachusetts. As of Sunday, 200,050 cases had been confirmed in the state.

In a sign of the power of the second COVID-19 surge that has been underway, Massachusetts jumped from 150,000 cumulative cases to 200,000 in just 25 days. Getting from 100,000 to 150,000, by comparison, took from June 1 until Oct. 28, a stretch of 149 days.

More than 5,700 additional COVID-19 cases were confirmed over the weekend and the state hit another harrowing milestone Sunday by surpassing 200,000 confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders announced that nursing homes and rest homes across the state will now perform weekly surveillance testing of all staff — up from every other week — because of increased community spread of COVID-19. A rapid test program put in place last week for K-12 schools, which uses Abbott's BinaxNOW antigen test, will also be extended to long-term care facilities "as an extra level of precaution," Sudders said.

Baker reiterated his ask that people celebrate Thanksgiving with their households only and avoid large gatherings.

"We can't afford to do Thanksgiving and the holidays the same way we've done it in the past," he said.

With reporting from State House News Service's Katie Lannan

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