Massachusetts up to 3,240 COVID-19 cases, 35 deaths; arriving travelers ordered to self-quarantine


BOSTON (WPRI) — Thirty-five people in Massachusetts have died from COVID-19-related illness, according to new data released Friday afternoon by the Department of Public Health.

The DPH reported 10 new deaths on Friday, which included men and women who ranged in age from their 60s to their 90s and lived in Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Franklin, Middlesex and Norfolk counties.

The state has now tested more than 29,000 residents, according to the DPH, and 3,240 have tested positive — an increase of 823 since Thursday.

Earlier on Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced new restrictions and resources related to the outbreak.

All travelers arriving in Massachusetts are now being instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“Further, we’re asking that folks considering travel to Massachusetts, for whatever reason: do not travel to our communities, especially if you have symptoms,” Baker said.

Flyers with the relevant information will be posted and handed out to travelers at the state’s rest stops and major transportation hubs including Boston Logan International Airport, Worcester Airport and South Station, according to Baker.

The order doesn’t apply to health care, public health, public safety and transportation safety workers, he added.

Due to the high infection rate in New York, the White House earlier this week directed anyone who recently traveled from the city to self-quarantine for two weeks. On Thursday, Gov. Gina Raimondo issued the same order for anyone traveling to Rhode Island from New York.

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Baker also announced Friday that the state individual income tax filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to July 15.

Anyone with questions or concerns about their taxes can contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue at (617) 887-6367 or online through MassTaxConnect.

In addition, the state has partnered with Buoy Health to provide a free online tool for residents to receive medical guidance from home during the crisis. When a user screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms or risk factors, they’ll be directed to the most appropriate resources.

“I want to make clear: it is not to be used in place of emergency medical care,” Baker said.

Visit to learn more.

Baker ordered all telehealth services to be fully covered by health insurance, saying it’s a way to keep citizens and healthcare providers safe while providing access to important information.

“I urge everyone to take full advantage of it and not go to a medical facility if you have the alternative to a phone call or video chat,” he said.

Raimondo also urged Rhode Islanders to use telehealth, saying insurers are being directed to cover those services until May 8.

In an effort to bolster the state’s health care workforce, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and DPH Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel are facilitating early graduation for qualified fourth-year medical students from Boston University School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School.

Graduates who have matched as an intern, resident or fellow with an approved Massachusetts health care facility or training program can apply for an emergency 90-day limited license to practice medicine.

Earlier this week, the state of Massachusetts launched a text-based notification system to keep residents informed. Text COVIDMA to 888-777 to subscribe.

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