COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Symptoms of this infection may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include:
- Cough and shortness of breath, and
- In severe cases, pneumonia (fluid in the lungs).
Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19. See DPH's travel information related to COVID-19.
You can also call 2-1-1 to learn more about:
- COVID-19 prevention, symptoms, and treatment
- Information about testing
- Guidance for people planning or returning from travel
Tips For Prevention
The MA DPH, CDC, and other federal, state, and local agencies are leading a comprehensive response to COVID-19. Here are some things that each of us can and should do to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy:
- Wash your hands, often
- Avoid close contact with other people
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect surfaces, often
Visit your town websites to learn the most recent information, local services, and guidance from our municipal officials.
- 2-1-1 Hotline
- Dial 2-1-1 to reach the State’s call center for information and answers to your COVID-19 questions. The service is free and multilingual.
- If you are experiencing symptoms or are concerned about exposure to COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider, local board of health, or the Massachusetts State Epidemiology line at (617) 983-6800.
- Maintaining Emotional Health & Well-Being: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/maintaining-emotional-health-well-being-during-the-covid-19-outbreak
- Massachusetts health insurers are required to cover the cost of testing and treatment for members who may be affected by COVID-19, including not charging copays or deductibles for those services.
- The Massachusetts Health Connector announced a special enrollment period until April 25th for residents to apply for coverage.
- MassHealth announced new policies to expand telehealth coverage, allow 90-day and early refills of prescriptions, make billing for COV-19 tests easier for providers, and remind providers that there are no copays for lab tests, and pharmacies that they cannot deny medications if a member cannot pay.
- Attorney General Health Care Helpline: (888) 830-6277
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
Service changes have been made across modes to match reduced demand and help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Bus and Silver Line: Saturday service for most routes, with additional service on busier routes during peak travel times
- Subway: Saturday service on the Red Line, Orange Line, and Green Line B, C, and D Branches. Saturday service with increased frequency to reflect ridership demand on the Blue Line and Green Line E Branch.
- Commuter Rail: Reduced service on all lines
- Ferry: No service
- The RIDE: There are no planned service changes.
- Increased cleaning and disinfecting is happening system-wide, with vehicles being cleaned daily and high-contact surfaces being cleaned every 4 hours.
Registry of Motor Vehicles
- The RMV has made several adjustments to operations in order to reduce person-to-person contact. Keep track of those changes here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/rmv-covid-19-information
Relief for Small Businesses and Employees
Small Business Resources
Administrative Tax Relief Measures
- The collection of sales, meals, and room occupancy taxes for March, April, and May is being delayed to June 20th for businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes or room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020
Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program
- Small businesses that have been financially impacted as a direct result of COVID-19 may qualify for EIDL of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses. Apply here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
- MGCC Small Business Recovery Loan Fund
- The week-long waiting period for unemployment benefits has been waived.
- Eligibility for unemployment assistance has also been expanded for those whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19. Read the details here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-unemployment-information
- If you have any concerns about earned sick time, paid leave, or your rights regarding COVID-19, call the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Hotline (M-F 10am - 4pm) at 617-727-3465
- The DPU has issued a moratorium on electric and gas shut-offs by all private and public utility companies until the end of the declared state of emergency.
- National Grid will continue emergency response, electricity and gas service, customer-requested service, regular billing, and payment assistance, while pausing collections activities and disconnections, non-essential planned electric outages, non-essential electric and gas-related services, and energy efficiency on-premise services. Get the latest updates from https://www.nationalgridus.com/COVID-19
- The federal government has announced that it is waiving interest on student loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education.
- The Attorney General’s Student Loan Assistance Unit is available to help borrowers explore repayment options, including options to temporarily stop making student loan payments. Contact info: (888) 830-6277