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Cuomo to hold ‘emergency summit’ with northeastern governors this weekend as cases continue to rise in Massachusetts

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew M. CuomoMike Groll/Associated Press

As the daily number of new COVID-19 cases increased across the nation, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said he would hold an “emergency summit” this weekend to discuss coordinating policy with the six northeastern state governors.

That call for the state executives to meet came as the pandemic in Massachusetts showed no signs of slowing down Saturday and the state reported nearly 3,000 new cases and more than two dozen new deaths due to COVID-19.

The impact of the disease is being felt statewide.

The Department of Correction said Saturday it had temporarily suspended family visits for two weeks while coronavirus testing is conducted on inmates and staff at its 16 facilities.

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At the State House, an employee who works for the Senate and the House tested positive for COVID-19, the third reported infection connected with the Legislature since Friday.

And in Cohasset, officials switched the town’s middle and high schools to all-remote learning following a Friday night gathering attended by students.

On Saturday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 2,841 new confirmed cases, which brought the Massachusetts total to 180,468. The state’s death toll reached 10,065, with 27 newly reported confirmed deaths.

Johns Hopkins University reported more than 10.8 million cases of the disease across the country Saturday, with more than 245,000 deaths.

In New York, Cuomo warned that new cases were on the rise across the country as people are expected to travel during the holiday season and participate in gatherings. Cuomo told reporters in press conference Friday that teams in each state have been working together to respond to the crisis.

"We want to make sure that we can align policies as much as possible, or at least be aware of what the other states' policies are,” he said.

A representative for Governor Charlie Baker did not respond Saturday to requests for comment.

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On Saturday, Cuomo continued to urge people to take precautions.

“It’s Saturday. One in every 378 Americans tested positive for COVID over the past week. Wear a mask,” he said on Twitter.

In Massachusetts, the Department of Correction said Saturday that testing of staff and inmates is part of its efforts to reduce the “introduction, exposure, and transmission” of COVID-19 at its facilities.

While family visits are suspended, attorney visits and releases from custody will continue as scheduled, according to a statement from the department.

The department is expanding its video infrastructure to provide virtual visitation at all facilities, according to the statement, and expanding inmate access to phone and e-mail communication.

“Inmates will still have access to medication distribution, sick calls, medical appointments, mental health contacts, showers, disinfecting of rooms, telephone use, and tier time,” the statement said.

The statement came a week after the department announced more than 100 active cases among inmates following widespread testing.

As of Saturday, the department reported 161 inmates with active cases at MCI-Norfolk and 33 active cases at MCI-Concord.

MCI-Shirley had 24 new active cases in the prison’s minimum security unit and a half-dozen such cases in its medium-security unit.

Since the pandemic began, five inmates at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater have died due to COVID-19, along with three at MCI-Shirley, according to the department.

At the State House, Speaker Robert DeLeo notified House staff in an e-mail Saturday afternoon that a third person linked to the Legislature had become infected with the coronavirus. Two House members who were last in the building Thursday have also tested positive for the coronavirus, the Globe reported Friday.

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The latest person to be diagnosed with COVID-19 had not been in the building since Aug. 18, and had not reported recent “close contacts” with the House or other workers, according to DeLeo’s e-mail. The three individuals have not been identified.

In Cohasset, police said in a statement that officers found about 20 underage people at 11 p.m. at a party who were “allegedly disregarding state-mandated social distancing and face covering protocols," the statement said.

Some of the attendees fled, but officers identified those who remained and called their parents. Two homeowners at the residence were issued a $500 fine for exceeding Baker’s order limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people.

Superintendent Patrick Sullivan notified families in a letter Saturday afternoon that switching the middle and high schools from hybrid to remote learning was done out of an abundance of caution and in consultation with health and safety officials, he said.

Students in those schools will attend remote classes starting Monday, and are expected to resume hybrid learning Nov. 30.

Any student who attended Friday’s party should be tested for COVID-19, he said.

“While this is, thankfully, the first situation of this nature since the start of school (and hopefully the last), the district will consider school disciplinary measures for any future similar conduct, just as it would with any infraction that either recklessly or intentionally disrupts school operations,” Sullivan said in the letter.

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Matt Stout of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.