BOSTON (AP) — All visitors arriving in Massachusetts are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days as the state tightens its efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday.
The Republican governor said travelers coming into Massachusetts through the state’s airports and by train will be given flyers instructing them about the quarantine.
Instructions will also be placed at highway rest stops and on electronic highway message boards.
Baker said there is no enforcement mechanism at this point.
The announcement to visitors came hours before the state’s health commissioner announced she tested positive for the virus.
More on developments in Massachusetts:
The number of people in Massachusetts who have died from COVID-19 jumped by 10 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 35 since the start of the outbreak.
Two of the new deaths were men in their 60s. The remaining were men and women in their 80s and 90s.
Public health officials said the number of residents who have so far tested positive for the disease increased to more than 3,200.
More than 29,300 have been tested, and nearly 300 have been hospitalized.
Massachusetts is postponing its state income tax filing deadline to July 15.
Gov. Baker and Democratic leaders in the Massachusetts House and Senate announced the agreement Friday.
Baker said the extension would be automatic and taxpayers would not need to file any additional forms to qualify. He said the extension would provide flexibility to taxpayer while protecting the state’s strong fiscal footing.
The extension corresponds with the Internal Revenue Service’s recent decision to push back the April 15 federal tax deadline.
HEALTH COMMISSIONER TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel announced Friday night that she tested positive for the virus. Bharel said she had been “vigilant” about practicing social distancing.
She said her symptoms are mild and she will rest at home while continuing to work.
Additionally, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley said Friday that she has tested negative for COVID-19.
Pressley said she sought out a test after experiencing flu-like symptoms and coming into contact with a colleague who tested positive.
ICE DETAINEES LAWSUIT
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Friday released two immigration detainees from the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Massachusetts, after a lawsuit filed earlier this week by the ACLU of Massachusetts and immigration attorneys.
On Wednesday, the ACLU filed a petition for the release of people who are in civil detention and who are at high risk for serious illness or death in the event of COVID-19 infection due to underlying medical conditions.
Civil rights groups have also filed a class action lawsuit calling for the release of all immigration detainees at the Bristol County House of Corrections in Dartmouth.
Lawyers for Civil Rights and other organizations argue in their federal suit filed late Thursday that detainees at the jail are living in “cruel and inhumane conditions” that put them at risk of an outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson dismissed the suit as “completely frivolous.”
John Mohan, a spokesman for ICE’s Boston office, said ICE continues “to maintain confidence” in the jail but declined to comment on the specifics of the suit.
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said Friday that the state is working with medical schools in Massachusetts to streamline the early graduation of qualified fourth-year students to let graduates aid with the state’s COVID-19 response.
The state Board of Registration in Medicine will provide medical school graduates who have matched as an intern, resident or fellow with a Massachusetts health care facility or training program with emergency 90-day medical licenses.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
DEBT COLLECTION REGULATION
Attorney General Maura Healey announced Friday that her office has filed an emergency regulation she said will help protect consumers from unfair and deceptive debt collection practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The regulation takes effect immediately and bars creditors from engaging in debt collection methods that require people to leave their homes and have in-person contact, including filing new lawsuits against consumers, visiting their homes or places of work, or repossessing their cars,
Healey said the emergency regulation will remain in effect for 90 days or until the end of the declared state of emergency.
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