Virus in New England: Beaches reopen in Massachusetts, some in R.I.
Volunteers placed 1,000 physically distanced flags on Boston Common for Memorial Day while beaches, barbers and hair salons reopen in Massachusetts. A sole veteran accompanied by police escorts marched in downtown Portland, Maine, and placed a flag at Monument Square on Monday, in place of the city's traditional Memorial Day parade.
Here's a look at the developments in New England related to the coronavirus outbreak.
One thousand American flags were placed about 6 feet apart on the Boston Common overnight for Memorial Day.
Normally about 37,000 flags would be placed to honor the Massachusetts service members who died in service since the American Revolution. Organizers with the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund had canceled the effort two weeks ago but then opted for a smaller effort overnight to limit the number of volunteers and onlookers amid the coronavirus pandemic, WBZ-TV reported.
Massachusetts beaches opened Monday, but with restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Beachgoers must keep at least 6 feet apart while walking and set up chairs and towels 12 feet away from others. Groups of more than 10 and organized games are not permitted.
“On some of our bigger beaches, we’ve actually made one-way traffic to and from the beach. On places where the trails are narrower, we’ve actually divided it into an entry and exit side,” said Brewster natural resources director Chris Miller told WBUR.
Hair salons and barber shops were also allowed to reopen Monday with restrictions.
A group of black and Latino activists on Monday drove through downtown Boston in what they said was a funeral procession to honor those who have died of COVID-19. They placed a coffin in front of the State House to send a message that the black and Latino community has suffered a staggering number of deaths. Resources to fight the virus must be directed proportionately “to the people feeling the most pain,” said Armani White, an organizer from the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition, in a written statement.
On Monday, Massachusetts reported 596 new cases of COVID-19 and 44 deaths. The new cases bring the state's total to 93,271 cases. The death toll has reached 6,416.
A sole veteran marched in downtown Portland accompanied by two police escorts on Monday to mark Memorial Day in the age of the coronavirus.
The city's traditional Memorial Day parade was canceled but organizers said they still wanted to honor those who have died while serving the country and do it in a way that abided by physical distancing rules, WMTW-TV reported.
So, one veteran, Army Sgt. Richard Cobb of Portland, marched from Longfellow Square to Monument Square, where he placed a flag. He spent 20 years in the Army, served in Iraq and was awarded the Bronze Star.
A Maine company that produces swabs for coronavis testing is developing a new plant that could help it nearly double its production of medical swabs.
Puritan Medical Products in Guilford said its converting a former plant in Pittsfield into its swab manufacturing plant, with the goal of having it operating by July 1, the Portland Press Herald reported.
The swabs are used to collect samples from people's nasal cavities and throats which are then run through machines to detect where the person has COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
The company currently produces 21.6 million swaps per month. The plant could increase the company's production to 40 million swabs a month by August or September, said co-owner Timothy Templet.
On Sunday, Maine reported 19 new COVID-19 cases, with no new deaths. That brings the total number of people who have tested positive to 2,074, the Maine Center for Disease Control said. The total number of deaths remained at 78.
Two state beaches are opening in Rhode Island on Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer season.
Gov. Gina Raimondo announced last week that East Matunuck Beach in South Kingstown and Scarborough Beach in Narragansett would be the only two state-run beaches to open Monday but stressed that there would be limited parking and no lifeguards, concessions or other facilities.
Coronavirus hospitalizations in Connecticut increased slightly on Sunday, with five new admissions making for a total of 706, according to state data released Monday.
The state reported 49 new deaths from the disease on Sunday and 405 new positive tests. All three numbers are still far below peak levels reached in mid-April.
In all, more than 40,800 people in Connecticut have tested positive for COVID-19 and 3,742 people have died.
The New Hampshire Department of Education is asking for input from parents, teachers and education leaders about the way schools will be operating in the fall.
WMUR-TV reports that the School Transition Reopening and Redesign Task Force, or START, is looking into what school will look like in September once classes resume and is doing survey.
“We believe that parents have an important voice in what school will look like for their children when they return in September,” state Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said. “So, this is an opportunity to make sure that voice is heard and is part of the broader conversation about how our schools will support our students as best they can in September.”
As of Monday, New Hampshire has had 4,197 cases of COVID-19. The state reported that 210 people have died from it.
Marinas in Vermont are allowed to open as part of state's gradual reopening amid the coronavirus so that boaters can get out onto Lake Champlain and other waterway.
Mark Saba, owner of Bay Harbor Marina in Mallets Bay, told mynbc5 that normally the marina would have been open the third week of April. He estimated that the marina put 50 boats in the water Thursday, compared to what would have been around 20 in other years.
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