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Boston science museum reopens; Connecticut youth cases up | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19


Updated

BOSTON (AP) — A look at coronavirus developments across New England:

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MASSACHUSETTS

Boston’s popular Museum of Science reopened Sunday to the wider public with new restrictions to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

The museum, which reopened to members only earlier this week, is requiring all visitors to reserve tickets in advance, wear face masks and submit to a temperature check at the door.

Exhibits have also been modified to improve social distancing and interactive ones will be cleaned regularly, officials said.

The wider opening comes nearly two weeks after the state moved into the third phase of its virus recovery plan, which allowed museums, art galleries and other public institutions to reopen.

Museum officials say they waited to reopen to come up with a plan to keep as many exhibits open as possible.


Meanwhile, the Holyoke Medical Center in western Massachusetts will be receiving nearly $9 million in additional federal funding, Congressman Richard Neal announced Saturday.

Neal, who chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said the funding is on top of the hospital’s original allocation of about $3 million distributed in early April.


MassLive reports the Holyoke hospital was treating less than 100 coronavirus patients in April, but then received an influx of patients from the nearby Holyoke Soldiers Home, the site of one of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in a nursing home in the nation.

Spiros Hatiras, the hospital’s CEO, said the extra funding will help bring some of the facility’s 300 furloughed workers back as the initial funds were used on protective equipment and medical supplies.


And state health officials Sunday reported 19 new deaths and more than 270 additional positive cases of COVID-19. That brings Massachusetts’ death toll to 8,310 deaths and its total cases to more than 108,000 since the pandemic started.

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CONNECTICUT

Coronavirus cases among teens and young adults are rising in Connecticut.

The Hartford Courant reports nearly 40% of people diagnosed with coronavirus from July 5 to 18 were under the age of 30.

The newspaper reports people between the ages of 20 to 29 accounted for nearly 25% of coronavirus cases reported from July 5 to 18, despite representing less than 13% of the more than 48,000 cases reported in the state since the pandemic started.

Youths in the 10-to-19-year-old age range accounted for more than 12% of the cases reported from July 5 to 18, despite only representing 3% of cases overall during the pandemic.

“Kids are socializing because that’s what kids do, but they need to realize that they’re not immune to COVID either,” Lynn Sosa, a deputy state epidemiologist, told the newspaper.

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RHODE ISLAND

The snack bar at a major state beach in Rhode Island has been closed after an employee tested positive for coronavirus, the state Department of Environmental Management announced.

The agency said it was notified Saturday afternoon of the positive test result at the concession at Scarborough South State Beach by the vendor that runs the facilities at the state beaches.

DEM said the employee last worked at the snack bar July 24 and that the beach had been closed July 21 to July 23 for high bacteria levels in the water.

The agency declined to identify the worker but said the state health department will conduct contact tracing. DEM also said the concession won’t reopen until it’s deep-cleaned and disinfected.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

For the first time in more than a century, hikers in the White Mountains this summer won’t be able to take advantage of a system of popular backcountry lodges.

The Appalachian Mountain Club’s eight huts, which are spaced about a day’s hike along roughly 50 miles of trail, have remained closed to overnight visitors this season because of pandemic concerns, the Boston Globe reports.

The huts aren’t reachable by road and can each house up to 90 people in communal living quarters that include prepared meals, bunk beds and shared, cold-water bathrooms.

The system dates to 1888 and generates about 40% of the Boston-based group’s operating income. The Appalachian Mountain Club’s car-accessible facilities in Pinkham Notch and in Crawford Notch, however, remain open, though officials report stays are down about 50% at those sites.

“The community aspect that usually is a huge driver in our organization is also a barrier for our success right now,” James Wrigley, the director of the organization’s White Mountain lodges, told the newspaper.

State health officials on Sunday reported 23 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing New Hampshire’s total to nearly 6,500 cases since the pandemic started. More than 400 have died in the state from the virus.

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VERMONT

The COVID-19 pandemic is giving new life to the grandparent scam, said Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan’s office.

There have been 93 reports of the grandparent scam since the beginning of the year, and 34 since June 1, the office said.

Scammers, posing as the grandchildren of unsuspecting grandparents, call and pretend to be in the hospital, in jail, or stranded overseas and in urgent need of wire transfers, gift cards, or cash.

The office recommends people who receive such a call hang up and contact a friend or other family member to verify before sending any money.

Meanwhile, state health officials reported four additional cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing Vermont’s tally to 1,400 since the pandemic started. Most have since recovered.

The state’s death toll remains 56, and one person is hospitalized with the virus, officials said.

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MAINE

State health officials reported 24 additional positive cases of coronavirus and no new deaths Sunday.

Maine has recorded more than 3,800 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, according to the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most have since recovered but about 14 patients are currently hospitalized with the virus. Maine’s pandemic death toll remains at 119 people.



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