Boston conference is the epicenter of state's coronavirus outbreak as Massachusetts governor declares state of emergency

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar explains why the CDC doesn't know the exact number of people who have been tested for the novel coronavirus as the US death toll rises.

Posted: Mar 11, 2020 2:30 AM
Updated: Mar 11, 2020 2:30 AM

Massachusetts' coronavirus cases have more than doubled and the state's governor declared a state of emergency after employees who attended a company meeting in Boston last month tested positive for the virus.

The state announced 51 new presumptive positive cases Tuesday that are awaiting confirmation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The surge brings the total number of confirmed or presumptive positive cases in Massachusetts to 92.

Seventy of the cases are related to employees at Cambridge biotechnology company Biogen, state Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said.

Gov. Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency in response to the outbreak.

"The purpose of moving forward with these measures now is to act before the numbers increase to the point where the virus spread is severely impacting the commonwealth," Baker told reporters Tuesday, adding that a spike in cases could overwhelm the state's systems.

Since the pandemic began in the United States, at least 1,000 cases have been reported. A total of 31 people have died. Early data suggests older people are twice as likely to have serious illness from the virus, and officials have said that slowing the spread will depend upon communities taking preventative steps.

Last week, Biogen announced that three people who had attended a company meeting in Boston in February tested positive for coronavirus.

Any employee who attended the meeting was directed to work from home for two weeks, the company said.

Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said Tuesday that she couldn't say exactly when her office was alerted of the positive tests from the conference.

"I don't want to say the dates, because the days are blurring together but what I can tell you is that as soon as we received information that there was an individual who tested positive outside of Massachusetts and they were connected to the Biogen large employee meeting, we then immediately began testing individuals who were symptomatic and have been continuing that process since then," Bharel said.

The rise in cases also highlights a shift in the transmission of the virus within the state. Only four of the 92 cases in the state have been identified as travel related, 18 are still under investigation and 70 are related to the Biogen meeting, Sudders said.

As the transmission moves toward person to person spread within communities, the approach is changed to mitigation and reducing the impact, which includes bringing in supplies and equipment and facilitating the surveillance and testing of patients and healthcare workers, Bharel said.

In addition to the State of Emergency, Baker announced new guidance for Massachusetts' executive branch for the outbreak. The guidance includes canceling out-of-state travel for work, canceling gatherings in favor of virtual conferences and seminars and encouraging employees to not come in to work with fever or flu symptoms.

The guidance will be reevaluated in a month or sooner if circumstances change, a statement from the governor's office said.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 164581

Reported Deaths: 4143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26055792
Lake14436358
St. Joseph9606168
Elkhart9271138
Allen8647231
Hamilton6400115
Vanderburgh617162
Tippecanoe396715
Porter347550
Hendricks3418134
Monroe335638
Johnson3286130
Delaware311575
Clark306263
Vigo275340
Madison250896
LaPorte239261
Cass229724
Warrick205065
Kosciusko201127
Floyd187468
Howard169466
Bartholomew147958
Marshall147428
Dubois146426
Wayne142031
Grant133539
Henry133030
Boone129150
Hancock124744
Noble122935
Jackson121018
Dearborn103128
Morgan100340
Lawrence96838
Gibson94412
Clinton92416
Daviess92334
Shelby90632
LaGrange82815
Knox81810
Harrison81024
Posey7767
Putnam77616
Fayette76719
DeKalb76011
Jasper6885
Miami6715
Steuben6608
Montgomery63122
White62316
Greene57838
Adams5607
Scott55413
Decatur52839
Ripley4838
Whitley4836
Clay4617
Sullivan45714
Wells45611
Huntington4455
Starke4438
Wabash4439
Orange42425
Spencer4176
Randolph39210
Jennings38713
Washington3873
Franklin38325
Fulton3785
Perry36914
Jefferson3655
Pike35718
Carroll34313
Jay3386
Fountain3293
Tipton28423
Vermillion2721
Parke2564
Rush2464
Blackford2394
Newton23711
Owen2151
Martin2050
Pulaski1783
Crawford1631
Brown1473
Ohio1337
Union1140
Benton1130
Switzerland980
Warren911
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