I wanted to share a few updates about the coronavirus outbreak, and let you know about some important new steps we’re taking in Boston.
As of yesterday, the total number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts was 6,620. There have been 938 cases in Boston. In Boston, 68 people have made full recoveries, and 3 people have passed away from the coronavirus. 89 people have died statewide. Our hearts go out to all the families grieving the loss of a loved one, and we are sending love and support to everyone who is currently battling this terrible illness.
Our main focus right now is slowing the spread of the virus, keeping people healthy, and making sure our medical centers have the capacity to treat everyone who needs care.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your community:
- Whenever possible, stay home and avoid physical contact with other people.
- If you must go out, practice physical distancing — stay at least 6 feet from other people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.
- If you think you are sick, call your doctor or 3-1-1 to be connected to the Mayor’s Health Line. We’re asking people to call first, before going to the ER so our hospitals don’t get overwhelmed.
The vast majority of people are taking these measures seriously, and we appreciate their support.
Here are a few recent updates and new resources that I want to make sure you’re aware of.
- Yesterday, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts extended the stay-at-home advisory and non-essential business closure until May 4th.
- The City of Boston is taking a number of steps to ease the financial burden renters and homeowners are facing at this time.
- We worked with housing advocates, property owners, and the Boston Housing Authority to halt all eviction proceedings until the crisis is over.
- We’re working with banks to develop a plan that would allow homeowners to suspend or defer mortgage payments, without penalties. If you are having problems paying your mortgage because of this crisis, reach out to your bank and ask what flexibility they are offering. You can also contact the Boston Home Center.
- We created new resources for people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.
- We’re going to provide rental vouchers to 1,000 families with BPS students over the next year. 500 will go to families living in shelters, and 500 will go to families who are at risk of displacement.
- We are also increasing our capacity to shelter, treat, and quarantine people who are homeless during the outbreak. We have secured hundreds of new beds for homeless individuals at repurposed locations in the City, including a college dormitory and a former hospital.
- We’re making sure everyone continues to have access to healthy food.
- We have a free meal program in place for all of Boston’s students while the schools are closed. We’re also connecting seniors and anyone who’s having trouble accessing foodcall to programs that can help. Call 3-1-1, or go to Boston.gov/coronavirus for more information.
- We’re continuing to provide access to services for people in recovery.
- All of the City’s recovery services are still open. We have online resources, including links to online AA and NA meetings, at Boston.gov/Recovery. You can also call 3-1-1 to be connected to help.
- We’re keeping the people of Boston informed
Throughout this crisis, I have been tremendously proud of the people of Boston for your strength, your patience, and your willingness to adapt. Everyone is doing their part in different ways: whether it’s helping us share the facts; or staying home to slow the spread of the virus; or reaching out to people who are having a hard time. All these things make a difference.
We are a resilient city of resilient people. We work hard, we look out for one another, and no one and nothing can keep us down for long. We will get through this together.
I’ll continue to send you regular updates about ways to stay healthy, resources that are available to you, and other steps the City is taking.
Thanks for doing your part,