Additional soldiers home review requested; Museums reopen

BOSTON (AP) — A look at some of the coronavirus developments in New England:


Massachusetts lawmakers are calling for an independent investigation into another state-run soldiers' home that had a deadly outbreak of the virus.

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Rep. Ayanna Pressley sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker Friday suggesting a review of the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home could help save veterans’ lives and prevent further infections.

They said the state’s recently completed a review of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where 76 veterans died and 84 others were infected in one of the worst nursing home outbreaks in the nation, produced “useful findings and recommendations.”

The Republican governor announced a series of reforms this week after an investigation found Holyoke facility officials made “utterly baffling” decisions during the pandemic, including mixing infected and non-infected veterans in a dementia unit.

Warren, Markey and Pressley also asked the administration to verify the number of cases at the Chelsea facility. State officials say at least 31 residents died from the virus and at least 40 others were infected at the home.

The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which oversees the facilities, said in a statement the Chelsea home “comprehensively prepared for and aggressively responded to COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, state health officials reported 28 new deaths from COVID-19 and 373 new infections on Saturday. That brings Massachusetts’ death toll to more than 8,000 and total number of positive cases to more than 108, 000 since the pandemic started.



Two Vermont museums are reopening after coronavirus-induced shutdowns.

The Bennington Museum, in Bennington, and the Fairbanks Museum, in St. Johnsbury, will open on Wednesday with visitors required to wear facial coverings.

At the Bennington Museum visitors will also their temperature taken before entering and anyone who’s temperature exceeds 100 degrees will not be admitted, the Bennington Banner reported.

Museums and other indoor cultural organizers were allowed to start operating at 25% capacity on June 1 but Bennington Museum had long planned for a July reopening.

The Fairbanks Museum, a natural history museum, will only be open five days a week and can accommodate 75 visitors at a time under current guidelines.

On Saturday, Vermont health officials reported two new cases of the virus in the state, bringing the state's total to about 1,500 since the pandemic started. The state has had a total of 56 deaths from the virus.



Overnight summer camps in the state can open starting Sunday, but most won't be opting to do so, according to Ken Robbins, president of the New Hampshire Camp Directors Association.

Robbins tells WCBV-TV that roughly 95% of sleepaway camps have decided simply not to reopen this summer. He said the camps are expecting to lose more than $140 million from the closures. Day camps are also struggling to meet stricter guidelines for reopening, Robbins added.

He told the station the state guidelines are “fundamentally at odds" with what camps are all about, “which is to get people close together.” That includes children having to wear masks during the hot summer season and regular testing for the virus.



State health officials on Saturday reported one death and 52 new positive coronavirus cases.

The latest figures from Maine's Center for Disease Control and Prevention bring the state’s death toll to 104 and more than 3,000 positive cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started.

Officials also reported Saturday that hospitalizations held steady at 24 patients and there are less than 500 cases of the virus currently active in the state.



Four more Connecticut residents have died from the coronavirus, while the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped by 21 compared with Friday, according to new state data released Saturday.

The new deaths bring the state’s total to 4,311, while hospitalizations declined to 106. Hospitalizations are down substantially from their peak of more than 1,970 in late April. About 46,200 people in Connecticut have tested positive for the virus.

Nearly 12,700 new test results were reported Saturday and 147 people tested positive, a positive test rate of about 1%. Gov. Ned Lamont said the latest positive test rates are among the lowest since the pandemic began.

On Friday, there were nine additional COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations increased by five patients compared with Thursday.