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Thanksgiving Travel Out Of Logan Was Down Compared To Last Year, But Up From Weeks Prior

People wait for their baggage at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston on Nov. 25, 2020. The  airport was bustling with travelers on the Eve of Thanksgiving, despite people being encouraged to stay home. (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
People wait for their baggage at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston on Nov. 25, 2020. The airport was bustling with travelers on the Eve of Thanksgiving, despite people being encouraged to stay home. (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

New Massport data show passenger traffic increased around Thanksgiving, but it was still well below last year's numbers.

More than 111,000 people departed from Logan International Airport last week. That's down 73% from 2019, but it's a 32% increase compared to the first week of November.

The airport recently launched multiple types of on-site coronavirus testing for both airport workers and travelers, though some experts warned that the tests could create a false sense of security.

State officials and health professionals urged people to stay home ahead of the holiday, and are now expecting a spike in cases due to increased travel and gatherings.

81 Mass. Communities High Risk For Virus Heading Into December

The good news in the latest batch of community-level COVID-19 data is that the number of cities and towns in the top risk category did not roughly double for a third consecutive week. The bad news is that the count still increased, with the addition of many suburban and rural areas, and nearly a quarter of Massachusetts communities landed in the red.

Eighty-one municipalities fell into the state's highest danger level for the highly infectious virus in a Department of Public Health report published Friday, an increase from the 63 in last week's version.

Those cities and towns are color-coded red in DPH's system, and are the only communities that the Baker administration believes could deploy hybrid rather than fully in-person education models. They could also be forced to move one stage backwards in economic reopening, cutting into some allowable business capacities.

Rhode Island Sends Alert: Hospitals Reach COVID-19 Capacity

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo speaks to the media, Oct. 24, 2019, on the campus of Rhode Island College, in Providence. (Steven Senne/AP)
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo speaks to the media, Oct. 24, 2019, on the campus of Rhode Island College, in Providence. (Steven Senne/AP)

Rhode Island’s hospitals reached their COVID-19 capacity on Monday, the same day the state’s two-week pause, meant to control the rise in new coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm the state’s health care system, took effect.

“Hospitals at capacity due to COVID,” the state said in a statewide emergency alert. “Help the frontline by staying home as much as possible for the next two weeks.”

Under the restrictions announced earlier in November by Gov. Gina Raimondo, some businesses will be required to shut down for two weeks, while others are restricted.

Child Care Providers Find Ways To Get More Coronavirus Testing On Their Own

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Laura Perille, former Boston school superintendent and now CEO of Nutury, receives a covid test at the Greater Roslindale Health and Dental Center. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Laura Perille, former Boston school superintendent and now CEO of Nutury, receives a covid test at the Greater Roslindale Health and Dental Center. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

As more people get COVID-19 across the state, it's inevitable that cases will pop up in preschools and child care, despite health precautions such as wearing masks and rigorous cleaning.

That's what happened at Nurtury, which operates six centers and supports 130 family child care providers in Greater Boston. Since they reopened their facilities in July, they have had a few isolated cases of the coronavirus. The daily health screenings usually caught any potential cases before a child or caregiver came through the doors.

But in late October, that changed.

“It was two days back to back. It was a tough two days,” Nurtury CEO Laura Perille said.

A teacher at one location had tested positive. At a different location, a parent had COVID-19. A third site: another positive teacher.

Walsh: Latest Virus Data Heading In 'Right Direction,' But Residents Should Stay Vigilant Over Holiday Weekend

Mayor Marty Walsh speaks during a press conference on Nov. 8, 2020. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Mayor Marty Walsh speaks during a press conference on Nov. 8, 2020. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

On paper at least, the coronavirus situation in Boston looks to be improving to the point that leaders could soon start planning to bring students back into classrooms, Mayor Martin Walsh said Wednesday as he urged caution on Thanksgiving to keep the tenuous positive trend going.

"The last seven days, we've seen a decrease. We're going in the right direction, at least for the first time in five weeks. If we continue in that trend then there's no conversation about shutting things down, there's no conversation about shutting restaurants down, we actually can have conversations, probably pretty soon, about bringing people back into schools, things like that," the mayor said during a press conference outside City Hall. "We just need to continue to see that trend."

There was an average of 215 positive COVID-19 tests for Boston residents each day during the week that ended Nov. 20, down from a daily average of 245 the previous week, Walsh said. The positive test rate was 4%, down from 5.6% and every Boston neighborhood saw a decrease in its community positive test rate except for a "really small uptick" in Mattapan, he said.

Mass. Congressional Delegation Calling For A Halt To Deportations During The Pandemic

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey. (Winslow Townson/AP)
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey. (Winslow Townson/AP)

U.S. Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren led the Massachusetts congressional delegation on Tuesday in calling for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to stop the deportation of individuals who pose no security threat.

Citing the ongoing pandemic, the lawmakers said in a press release that deportations "pose a unique risk for the spread of the disease" and that deportation flights "endanger passengers and crewmembers and increase the likelihood that the United State is exporting COVID-19 to countries with weak public health infrastructure."

In the letter, signed by each of the state's eleven members of congress, the lawmakers wrote in part:


“ICE enforcement activities terrorize immigrant communities and stop immigrants from seeking critical medical care. As a result, public health officials and medical professionals are unable to provide needed treatment that helps control the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. We urge you to listen to medical experts who have called for a stop to deportations as a matter of public health.”

The delegation is asking federal immigration officials for more information on whether U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducts pre-departure COVID-19 tests and whether individuals who test positive are taken off deportation flights.

In April, Markey, Warren and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley intervened when ICE attempted to deport several individuals to Haiti who had tested positive for the coronavirus. Markey called on DHS in May to halt all deportations to Haiti during the pandemic.

7 Dead In Andover Assisted Living COVID Outbreak

Atria Marland Place in Andover. (Screenshot via Google Maps)
Atria Marland Place in Andover. (Screenshot via Google Maps)

Seven residents have died at an assisted living facility in Andover over the past week amid a major COVID-19 outbreak that infected dozens of residents and employees.

Over the past month, testing at Atria Marland Place has confirmed 50 cases among residents and 21 cases among staff, Atria Regional Vice President Kymberly Codair said in a statement.

Seven employees recovered after quarantining, while the other 14 are quarantining outside the assisted living community. Residents who tested positive are also quarantining and are being treated "by staff designated to only assist residents that are symptomatic or otherwise tested positive for COVID-19," Codair said.

"We continue to operate with escalated safety protocols at Atria Marland Place," Codair said. "This includes restricting access to essential visitors only, screening staff for temperatures and symptoms regularly, frequently monitoring residents for any symptoms, and staff wear the proper PPE at all times."

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