BOSTON (AP) — The number of people in Massachusetts who have tested positive for the new coronavirus more than doubled on Sunday to 28, up from 13 on Saturday, state public health officials said.
All 15 of the new cases had a direct connection to a meeting of the biotech firm Biogen that was held for company employees at a Boston hotel late last month, the state Department of Public Health said in an emailed statement.
The new cases include eight men and seven women. Most of them live in the greater Boston area. They range in age from in their 30s to 60s. All are in isolation at home.
Of the state’s 28 cases, 23 are associated with the Biogen meeting. Two people in Indiana who have tested positive also attended the Biogen meeting, heath officials in that state said.
Of the 28 Massachusetts cases, only one is confirmed, and the rest are awaiting final confirmation from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus that causes the disease COVID-19 has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide and killed more than 3,400, mostly in China.
The cost of testing and treatment for the coronavirus will be covered by health insurers in Massachusetts, according to the state’s insurance commissioner.
Insurers will verify that eligible residents in the state have access to any necessary testing, counseling, treatment and vaccination related to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Insurance Commissioner Gary Anderson wrote in his directive to insurers Friday.
The announcement means there will be no co-payments for services related to the medical response to the virus, and deductibles will not be applied to them.
A vaccine has not been developed but the directive will apply when one becomes available.
“Coronavirus may impose unique risks to our insurance market that Massachusetts has not faced for at least a generation,” Anderson said.
COVID-19 has flu-like symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC advises those who are mildly ill with the virus to stay home and avoid public areas to avoid spreading it.
The state’s insurance division is also requiring insurers to provide dedicated help lines in an effort to answer questions about the virus so people won’t need to visit medical offices.