BOSTON (SHNS) – The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Massachusetts on Feb. 1 and as of Monday, some 310 days later, more than a quarter-million people in the Bay State have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness that basically didn’t exist one year ago.

The Department of Public Health on Monday reported 2,463 new cases of COVID-19 from 43,304 total new tests and announced 30 recent COVID-19 deaths. A total of 250,022 cases have been confirmed in Massachusetts and 11,035 people have died of confirmed or likely cases of the virus.

DPH also reported that there were 100 more people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of 3 p.m. Sunday than there were as of mid-afternoon on Saturday. That one-day jump of 100 patients is the largest single-day increase in the hospitalized population since April 21, according to DPH data. Of the 1,516 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 302 are being treated in an intensive care unit, and about half of those patients are breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Statewide, there are roughly 595 ICU beds and 2,230 non-ICU beds open and able to be staffed within 24 hours, DPH said. That’s a decrease of about 100 available ICU beds from Sunday’s DPH report and an increase of about 50 non-ICU beds.

As of Monday, DPH estimated that there were 58,452 people with active cases of the highly-contagious coronavirus. For perspective, that’s like the entire population of Brookline having COVID-19 at the same time.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced an expansion of his administration’s free testing program and hinted that he will announce new COVID-related restrictions later this week. — Colin A. Young. Five GOP Guvs Urge Stimulus Deal: Gov. Charlie Baker joined four other Republican governors on Thursday in urging Congress to pass a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package this month, saying that residents of their states “continue to pay a high prices for Congress’ inaction.” The joint statement is signed by Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Baker, and Phil Scott of Vermont. It notes that many programs created under the earlier stimulus bill known as the CARES Act have already run out, and more are set to expire before the end of the year. “We recognize that there are legitimate differences of opinion on what an ideal package should contain, but these differences pale in comparison to the cost of doing nothing,” says the statement, which Hogan tweeted. “It is time to act. There is no more room for partisan positioning and political gamesmanship. Congress must come together and take action now.” Republicans hold the corner office in 28 states and territories. Hutchinson is the vice chair of the National Governors Association, and on Friday he and NGA Chair Andrew Cuomo, a New York Democrat, called on Congress not to recess for the holidays without finalizing a deal. – Katie Lannan 4:18 PM Mon

Quarantine, Return to Work Changes: The Department of Public Health issued new guidelines for COVID-19 quarantine periods and for returning to work. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said Monday that the new guidelines, which took effect Monday, allow the quarantine period to be reduced from 14 days to eight days as long as they have not had and do not have any symptoms of COVID-19. Sudders said a test administered on the fifth day after exposure or later must also come back negative for the person to be released from the requirement to quarantine. Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced two acceptable alternative quarantine periods, while continuing to recommend quarantining for 14 days as the best way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 following exposure. Under the CDC’s new alternatives, quarantine can end after 10 days without a COVID-19 test if the person has reported no symptoms or after seven days with a negative test result if the person has reported no symptoms. Sudders also announced Monday that certain workers — health care workers, first responders and critical infrastructure workers, among others — who test positive for COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic “may continue to work during the quarantine period to preserve critical societal functions.” That change comes as hospitals report that COVID-19 is at once increasing the number of patients to be treated and reducing the number of healthy doctors and nurses who can care for patients. — Colin A. Young 2:49 PM Mon

Baker Tips Hat to ABCC on Compliance Checks: Gov. Charlie Baker over the weekend offered a “tip of the hat” to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, saying it had conducted almost 10,000 “surveys” of institutions that serve liquor in Massachusetts to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols. “We are one of the few states that has never opened the bars back up and we opened restaurants up with some of the most aggressive guidance in the country,” Baker said during an appearance on WCVB’s “On the Record” program. “Their presence has made a big difference with respect to compliance.” A spokeswoman for the state Treasury, which oversees the ABCC, said nearly 11,000 locations have been visited by the agency since August. About 97 percent were found in compliance with rules, 213 were issued written or verbal warnings, and 109 were found to be operating in violation of state executive orders. – Michael P. Norton 2:21 PM Mon

Some of Medicare’s Telehealth Expansion to Be Permanent: From mid-March through mid-October, more than 24.5 million of the 63 million Medicare beneficiaries and enrollees nationwide received a Medicare telemedicine service, according to federal officials. That’s up from the 15,000 fee-for-service beneficiaries receiving a Medicare telemedicine service each week before the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a newsletter in which Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said actions by the Trump Administration “have unleashed an explosion in telehealth innovation.” Azar said officials are moving to make some of those changes permanent — CMS has added 144 telehealth services to Medicare coverage for the duration of the pandemic, and a new final rule adds “more than 60 services to the Medicare telehealth list that will continue to be covered beyond” the public health emergency’s end. The additions, the newsletter said, will allow beneficiaries in rural areas who are in nursing homes or other medical facilities to continue accessing telehealth services. – Katie Lannan 1:06 PM Mon

Pfizer Vaccine Order Has Been Placed: The Baker administration placed its first order with the federal government on Friday for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control has allocated 59,475 doses of the vaccine to Massachusetts for the first shipment, which state officials expect to be part of 300,000 doses delivered by the end of the month. That full allotment of 300,000 vaccines will be for the first dose of a two-dose regimen required with the Pfizer vaccine. In addition to Pfizer, Cambridge-based Moderna is awaiting emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, and a meeting has been scheduled by the FDA for Dec.17 to discuss Moderna’s application. The Baker administration said it has been preparing for the likelihood that multiple vaccines could soon become available, and submitted a final distribution plan to the CDC for review on Friday. The state’s earlier draft distribution plan from October indicated that health care workers exposed to or who treat people with COVID-19 would be given priority for the first-arriving doses of vaccine, along with those with underlying medical conditions or who are over 65 and at greater risk from the virus. Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that he would have more details to share publicly about the state’s vaccine distribution plan on Wednesday. – Matt Murphy 11:20 AM Mon

Fitchburg, Leominster PPE Donation: Fitchburg and Leominster will receive a quarter-million pieces of personal protective equipment through a donation from Mascon Medical, a minority-owned manufacturing and supply chain company in Woburn. The company plans to donate 250,000 masks, gowns, face shields, goggles, hand sanitizing wipes, and electrostatic sprayers to the northern central Mass. cities. Mascon Medical President and CEO John Chen will be joined by Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella and Fitchburg Mayor Steve DiNatale on Tuesday at noon to make the donation at Leominster’s Office of Emergency Management. Last month, Mascon said it plans to donate more than 1.5 million masks, gowns, face shields, goggles, hand sanitizing wipes and electrostatic sprayers to communities throughout Massachusetts. It began last month with a donation to Revere, Chelsea and Lawrence. — Colin A. Young 10:27 AM Mon

House Employee Tests Positive: A House employee who was last in the State House on Nov. 19 has tested positive for COVID-19, Speaker Robert DeLeo said in an email to representatives and staff Friday afternoon. The person did not have close contact “with any other Member or employee of the House,” DeLeo said. The email said that office spaces the employee used would be deep-cleaned before representatives and staff can access them. DeLeo’s note followed a Thursday evening email to senators and Senate staff from Mary Anne Padien, Senate president Karen Spilka’s chief of staff, advising them that “a person who was in the State House on Wednesday December 2nd” had tested positive for COVID-19 and there would be an environmental cleaning that evening on “impacted rooms.” Legislative leaders have previously disclosed a handful of cases among lawmakers and staff members, while not personally identifying those who tested positive, and the State House remains closed to the public. Padien’s email said that all Senate employees should still be working remotely, and that senators are “strongly encouraged to participate in sessions remotely.” DeLeo’s update advised “that only those staff whose positions are essential to the discharge of House operations, including sessions of the House, should be physically at the State House at this point.” – Katie Lannan