BOSTON (AP) – Several Boston museums and other attractions are bringing indoor masking requirements under updated guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention in response to a surge in cases caused by the coronavirus delta variant, return.
The Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the New England Aquarium are among the institutions that announced this week that starting Saturday, all visitors 5 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, will wear face coverings indoors.
“In this time of increasing health risks, our commitment to one another is paramount and we hope that our visitors respect our employees who are now in the position of enforcement,” the Museum of Fine Arts wrote on social media.
The aquarium also asked for understanding.
“Please be respectful of our employees when they ask you to comply with this policy. Through this policy, we are working to reduce transmission and protect each other. Visitors who violate the mask policy are encouraged to leave the aquarium, ”said a statement on its website.
Suffolk County, which includes Boston, has “significant” COVID-19 transmission rates, according to the CDC.
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Many institutions relaxed the masking guidelines in May.
UMASS MEMORIAL HEALTH MODATE VACCINE
UMass Memorial Health is the newest hospital system in Massachusetts to announce that employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Worcester-based system said in a memo this week that it expects workers to receive an initial dose by November 1st.
Dr. Eric Dickson, President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health, raised concerns about vaccines.
“We have thoroughly reviewed the science behind vaccines, following directions from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and believe that this is the best way to protect our caregivers and patients from this terrible disease, which occurs again and again. ” stronger, “he said in the memo.
The system operates several hospitals and medical facilities in central Massachusetts.
TOP DEMOCRAT URGES MASKS AT SCHOOLS
Massachusetts Senate Democratic President Karen Spilka urges Republican Governor Charlie Baker to require masks at school this fall.
Almost a million children will be returning to K-12 public schools next month, Spilka said. Almost half of them will be under the age of 12 and not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, Spilka added, highlighting concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant.
“Universal masking in schools is an effective way to protect our vulnerable children and residents,” she said. “Parents, school staff and students seek a clear, consistent direction at the start of the school year, and they deserve to get it from the state. So I’m calling on the Baker administration to make masks mandatory at school this fall. “
Earlier this week, Baker said that while the state will recommend masks for unvaccinated students and staff, the final decision should be left to the local school districts.
“I’m not going to make decisions that, in many cases, I believe should be end-of-the-day driven by the local people who know these communities best,” Baker said Tuesday. “But it’s a strong recommendation for K-6 that children should wear masks as vaccine is not available for K-6.”
COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in Massachusetts nursing homes.
About a quarter of Massachusetts nursing homes have faced COVID-19 outbreaks in the past few weeks, with most of the cases being carried over from staff to residents, the Boston Globe reported on Friday.
Most of the cases were mild. About 89% of Massachusetts nursing home residents are fully vaccinated.
Baker this week ordered that employees working in long-term care facilities across the state must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 10.
In the past four weeks, 57 Massachusetts facilities reported two or more cases among staff and residents, for a total of 170 cases – 88 among staff and 82 among residents, Health Department officials said, according to Globe.
The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 rose more than 1,100 on Friday, while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by two.
The new numbers brought the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,727 since the pandemic began, while the confirmed case number climbed to more than 678,500.
About 270 people were hospitalized on Friday for confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 60 in intensive care units.
The actual number of cases is likely higher as studies suggest that some people may be infected and not feel sick.
The average age of those who died of Covid-19 was 74 years.
More than 4.3 million people in Massachusetts are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
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