Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new coronavirus testing initiative for eight communities that have seen a high rate of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
The communities included in the program are Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough and New Bedford. Those who wish to get tested can go to mass.gov/stopthespread to find out where testing is available.
Baker said Tuesday that public health data “continues to show us positive trends on many of the key metrics” and that the state’s reopening is only made possible by people who have adhered to mitigation strategies like wearing a mask and maintaining six feet or more of distance from others.
“It’s now more important than ever, especially as we get into Phase 3, that everybody continue to do the things that have made such a difference here in Massachusetts over the course of the past 120 days. That means continuing to wear masks if you can’t socially distance, to socially distance whenever possible, to practice good hygiene and to stay home if you feel sick,” he said.
As Boston prepares to enter phase three of reopening on Monday, two of the city’s most popular attractions are getting ready to welcome back visitors for the first time since closing down in March.
Another 15 people with the new coronavirus have died and 201 new confirmed and probable cases were reported, health officials said Tuesday.
Closely watched metrics like how coronavirus tests are coming back positive and the average number of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in the hospital remain roughly 90% lower than where they stood at the height of the virus’ surge in Massachusetts in mid-April.
The state’s death toll stands at 8,213 and the number of COVID-19 cases detected at 108,854, including confirmed and probable cases in both metrics, according to the Department of Public Health’s daily report.
Plainridge Park Casino reopens Wednesday, marking the first casino to operate in Massachusetts after being forced to shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With the exception of Boston and Somerville, Massachusetts is now in Phase 3, the final step in its reopening plan before the so-called “new normal” is reached, when a vaccine or effective treatment will allow all COVID-19 restrictions to be eased. The state has been slowly reopening for months, monitoring for any outbreaks that would risk the progress made so far.
Gyms, fitness studios, movie theaters, museums, casinos and outdoor venues are among the industries included in the first step of the Phase 3 reopening, which started Monday.
State House News Service contributed to this report.