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The latest on coronavirus in Massachusetts: 13 cases, sources identified, officials say risk is low

Larry Madoff, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (right) answered a question during a panel at a community-wide town-hall forum held to discuss the latest news on the Coronavirus at the Museum of Science.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Saturday added five new cases of Covid-19, bringing to 13 the total number of positive test results in the state

Twelve of the tests were performed by the state laboratory and are awaiting confirmation from the CDC. One has been confirmed.

Twelve of the Massachusetts cases have been linked to a likely source, either foreign travel or contact with an infected person. One is under investigation.

Saying the risk to Massachusetts residents remains low, public health authorities are currently not recommending the cancellation of mass gatherings such as the Boston Marathon.


Eight of the Massachusetts residents who tested positive had a direct connection to a leadership meeting in Boston last week held by Cambridge-based biotech company Biogen.

• Three additional Biogen employees who live out of state have also been infected, as has an Indiana resident who wasn’t at the meeting but had contact with attendees.

• Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have set up temporary testing facilities for Biogen employees who have symptoms. The hospitals will contact those who are eligible for testing.

• Testing remains limited. Only the state laboratory is able to perform the tests and can do 40 to 50 a day.

• People who have symptoms of coronavirus -- fever, cough, shortness of breath -- are urged to stay home and contact their physician by phone.

• Biogen has instructed all employees who attended the meeting, and their relatives who had close contact, to self-quarantine. It has closed its Cambridge offices to all but “essential personnel” and told thousands of employees in Cambridge, North Carolina, and Switzerland to work from home.

• Eleven town officials in Norwood, including the town manager and the schools superintendent, are self-quarantining for 14 days after attending a private gathering with a town resident who tested positive for coronavirus. Schools are being cleaned over the weekend but will open as scheduled on Monday. The town has provided an e-mail address and phone number to answer general questions (not to provide medical advice to individuals): 781-762-1240 x220


• Wellesley closed two public schools for cleaning after the parent of two students, a Biogen employee, tested positive.

Concerns over Covid-19 prompted South Shore Hospital in Weymouth restrict visitation. Each patient can be visited by only one adult designated as primary caregiver, such as a spouse, parent, or guardian.

For information:

Boston Mayor’s Health Line: 1-800-847-0710 or (617) 534-5050

Felice J. Freyer can be reached at Follow her @felicejfreyer.