Coronavirus outbreak at hospital grows to 19 known cases

BOSTON (AP) — A COVID-19 outbreak at a major Boston hospital has now grown to 19 confirmed cases.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital originally said it had identified 10 cases among staff and patients connected to two inpatient units.

The hospital in a statement late Thursday said to date, 98 employees had been tested, with 11 testing positive. Also, 50 patients had been tested, with eight positive.

Another 445 people are in the process of being tested, and the hospital expects the number of positive cases to grow.

“This outbreak is not impacting any other areas of the hospital or our outpatient clinics," the statement said.

The source of the cluster remains under investigation.

The affected areas have also been thoroughly cleaned.

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PRISON VISITS RESUME

Inmates at all Massachusetts state prisons will soon be allowed in-person visitors again.

The state Department of Correction in a statement Thursday said in-person visits will resume Monday at all its facilities. Visits were suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, although some minimum security and pre-release centers started allowing visitors in July.

Starting Monday, visits must be scheduled in advance, and prisoners will be limited to one visit per week, up to two people at a time. Visitors will undergo a health screening, and visitors and inmates will be required to wear face coverings. Barriers will be placed between visitors and inmates and no physical contact will be permitted.

The agency said it has had just four inmate COVID-19 cases at its facilities since July 1, all of whom contracted the virus before incarceration.

The new rules do not affect attorneys visiting clients.

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

Massachusetts reported 10 newly confirmed coronavirus deaths and about 450 newly confirmed cases Friday, pushing the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 9,160 and its confirmed caseload to more than 127,300.

The seven-day weighted average of positive tests was less than 1%. The true number of cases is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were nearly 390 people reported hospitalized Monday because of COVID-19, and nearly 80 in intensive care units.

The number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 related deaths at care homes rose to nearly 6,020, or about 64% of all confirmed and probable deaths in Massachusetts attributed to the disease.