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Coronavirus alerts to go out to cellphones in high-risk communities this evening

Take coronavirus precautions -- that's the message people in high-risk communities will be getting from their cellphones later today.
Take coronavirus precautions -- that's the message people in high-risk communities will be getting from their cellphones later today.ra2 studio - Fotolia

State officials are going to send out coronavirus alerts Monday to people’s cellphones in high-risk communities, borrowing a technique used in the past for weather and public safety emergencies.

The jurisdictions where people will be getting alerts include Chelsea, Everett, Lawrence, Lynn, Nantucket, New Bedford, Revere, Framingham, Winthrop, and Worcester, the COVID-19 Command Center said in a statement. Cellphones in nearby communities may also receive the alert due to cell tower locations, state officials said.

“COVID is persistently high risk in these communities, and this alert is another important message to remind residents to remain vigilant — wear masks, get tested/stay home if they feel sick, stop having gatherings and practice social distancing,” the statement said.

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The alert, which will be sent between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., will begin by saying it is a “MAGovt Alert.”

It will continue, in both English and Spanish, “COVID19 is a serious threat in [city/town name]. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Do not share food drinks utensils. Stay home if sick. Get a free COVID test. Stop gatherings with family and friends. Protect you and your loved ones. For more info visit mass.gov/stopcovid19.”

The statement from the command center said the message was part of stepped-up efforts to ensure residents remain vigilant about the coronavirus. The broader campaign includes field teams, paid advertising, and other communications to remind residents that the pandemic is not over, and to continue taking precautions to help protect their family, friends, and neighbors.

The message will be a Wireless Emergency Alert, the statement said. People may be familiar with such alerts emanating from their cellphones for weather alerts or Amber Alerts for a kidnapped child in danger. The technology can also be used to send out alerts from the president.

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The state sent out alerts to cellphones of people in communities at high risk for COVID-19.
The state sent out alerts to cellphones of people in communities at high risk for COVID-19.Marcela García

Martin finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.