Worcester officials advise residents to avoid in-person shopping, dining as new COVID cases surge to new highs

New coronavirus cases in Worcester over the last eight days eclipsed 1,000, officials said, surpassing the high-water mark from the spring which was 600.

Over an eight-day period from Thanksgiving through Thursday, Worcester saw 1,012 new COVID-19 cases, “a mind-boggling” number Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said.

On Wednesday alone, Augustus said, the city saw 278 cases, the most since April 22. Overall the city has now seen 10,127 cases since the start of the pandemic. The city reported nine more deaths since last week.

The positivity rate in the city is at 22%, Worcester Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh said.

Augustus said the positive tests are “widespread” across the city coming from households to childcare to hospitals.

“The testing number, more than 1,000 cases in the last eight days, that’s just a staggering number,” Augustus said. “And that does not really reflect the surge that we’re expecting that came from Thanksgiving travel.”

With numbers rising to new highs, Augustus still declined to implement stricter guidelines for restaurants and retail.

While a mandate wasn’t implemented, Hirsh and Augustus advised residents to avoid indoor dining and work from home when possible. The two officials recommended shopping online and ordering takeout to limit contact.

“Every trip that you take outside of your bubble at home is a risk,” Hirsh said.

Augustus believes if a mandate came, it should be implemented at the state level.

”We’re certainly talking amongst ourselves about things we can do,” Augustus said. “I do think it’s challenging for one city to shut down restaurants or shut down stores where people can go the next town over. You don’t get the benefit of that. People are just going to travel to other places and then you hurt your businesses.”

Augustus and Hirsh each shared concerns about the number of health care workers infected by the virus during the last week.

Augustus said as the city braces for a second surge of the virus, the shortages won’t come from PPE but in the form of health care staff.

Health care workers at the city’s two hospitals, Saint Vincent Hospital and UMass Memorial Health Care, reported a combined 99 new cases – an average of more than 12 per day.

“If you’re not willing [to follow the safety protocols] for yourself, if you’re not willing to do it for your family members, let me ask folks to try to do it for our health care workers,” Augustus said. “If you look at the hospitals, if you look at the nursing facilities, look at the positive numbers for health workers, they’re exhausted.”

As high as the numbers are now, the city anticipates they will continue to increase due to Thanksgiving travel.

Hirsh said the surge from Thanksgiving is expected around the middle of December with another surge after Christmas.

On Sunday, the DCU Center is expected to open as a field hospital. Gov. Charlie Baker toured the facility in Worcester on Thursday. CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care Dr. Eric Dickson

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Cases dropped against man, three women charged in Forest Lake rape

Charges have been dropped against a 40-year-old man accused of raping a woman in his Forest Lake townhouse a year ago as three other women helped restrain her.

The Washington County Attorney’s Office said in a court filing last week that two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct are being dismissed against Lawson T. Waples Ward because of a “lack of evidence and interest of justice.”

The county attorney’s office also dismissed aiding and abetting charges against three others involved in the incident: Tina R. Peet, 52, of Forest Lake; Alena J. Turner, 28, of St. Paul; and Ta’Yonna M. May, 30, of St. Paul.

According to the charges against Waples Ward and the others:

A 21-year-old woman told police that she visited his home on Nov. 16, 2019, and he began engaging in sexual activity with her. At the time, she said she did not tell him to stop.

The three women soon arrived, and they held the young woman by her arms and legs while Waples Ward allegedly assaulted her and hit her with a paddle, the criminal complaint read.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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©2020 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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Vogue deletes article about Martha’s Vineyard wedding after health officials link it to Covid cases

Vogue quietly deleted an article about a couple’s wedding on Martha’s Vineyard after it is suspected of being linked to a cluster of coronavirus cases on the island.

The fashion magazine ran a story earlier this week featuring the nuptials of Chelsea Keyes and Evan McDuffie, an out-of-state couple who married last month at Lambert’s Cove Inn in West Tisbury, Massachusetts.

In a Nov. 16 tweet, Vogue wrote: “Once Chelsea Keyes and Evan McDuffie had officially made the call to downsize their wedding amid the pandemic, they got to work on pivoting their original plans, choosing whenever they could to work with small, local and Black-owned businesses.”

By Friday morning, the tweet had been deleted and the article appeared to be removed from the magazine’s website.

The Martha’s Vineyard Times reported that the Vogue story featured dozens of photos showing some of the guests at the outdoor wedding not wearing face masks. The Vogue story was apparently deleted after West Tisbury residents expressed concern about contact tracing on the island.

Omar Johnson, an agent with the West Tisbury board of health, told NBC News that there were 10 cases of Covid-19 linked to the wedding. Of those 10, eight of them isolated on the island — two were guests and six were workers.

A spokesperson for Condé Nast, Vogue’s parent company, told NBC News in a statement that the editorial team “ensured that appropriate measures were being taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the event” before deciding to cover the story.

“However, as no gathering has zero risk, we found out afterward that guests had contracted Covid-19 — and believe they did at the wedding — and so the editorial decision was made to remove the piece,” the spokesperson said.

Calls to numbers listed for Keyes and McDuffie were not immediately returned Friday. Keyes told Martha’s Vineyard Times that there is no way to trace the cluster of cases to her wedding.

“As you are aware, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint the origin of the outbreak or where it stemmed from. There was a wedding the night before ours at the same venue, as well as many weddings during that weekend that were staffed and supported by a number of individuals,” she told the outlet in an emailed statement.

“For our wedding specifically, we followed the protocol of the venue and the commonwealth of Massachusetts, including having an outdoor wedding with 40 guests, designating sanitization areas, and — as a welcome gift at the ceremony — gave out custom masks made by a local MV vendor. While we do not know the source of the outbreak, we deeply regret the impact it’s had on our guests, family, and the Island community.”

At the time the ceremony was held, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker had ordered that outdoor gatherings have no more than 100 people and that the local board of health needed to be notified if there were more than 50 people.

Visitors traveling from out-of-state were also

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Macy’s may temporarily close more stores as Covid cases rise, CEO says

People sit as Macys shopping bags are placed on a table at Herald Square as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on August 20, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production.

Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images

Macy’s could face more temporary store closures as coronavirus cases rise rapidly across the U.S., impeding its recovery and the all-important holiday shopping season, executives said Thursday.

“Covid is surging again across the country,” CEO Jeff Gennette said during a post-earnings call with analysts. “And that continues to impede our recovery, in international tourism and urban areas. And the supply chains have opened up, yet problems remain.”

The retailer’s online business, which grew 27% during the latest quarter, is expected to rise “at a very aggressive rate” and could expand even faster, depending on whether states and cities shutter stores again, Gennette added.

Macy’s said its flagship stores like its Herald Square location in New York City have been hit hardest during the pandemic. The lack of tourists and office workers shopping over lunch breaks and after work has hurt traffic, he said.

One of the company’s locations in El Paso, Texas, is closed due to a surge in cases there. Mall owner Simon Property Group said earlier this month it had been asked to shut down its Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso. The United States has regularly been logging more than 100,000 new daily Covid infections in the past two weeks.

Gennette said Macy’s is monitoring other communities closely and has a strategy to work through additional store closures. “We are getting expert at this,” he said. “We’re ready to go, no matter what comes our way.”

Gennette said he is optimistic consumers will be eager to get dressed up again, post-pandemic. The retailer’s sales have declined with fewer people visiting its stores for work clothes, prom dresses and wedding gowns in 2020.

“A vaccination is obviously on everybody’s mind, … and I think there is going to be a surge of demand when that happens,” he said.

People who “have been wearing the same clothes, lounging in active and in casual sportswear … they’re going to want to dress up,” Gennette said.

Macy’s shares were flat at midday Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the company reported a third-quarter, same-store sales decline of more than 20%. It said it expects same-store sales of owned and licensed stores to decline by a low- to mid-20s percentage during the fall.

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Macy’s may face more temporary store closures as Covid cases climb and threaten crucial holiday shopping season, CEO says

  • “Covid is surging again across the country,” CEO Jeff Gennette said. “And that continues to impede our recovery.”
  • The United States has regularly been logging more than 100,000 daily Covid infections in the past two weeks.
  • Macy’s said it has plans in place if it must close additional stores, but is hopeful that won’t be the case. It currently has a location closed in El Paso, Texas, due to rising cases there.



a person wearing a hat: People sit as Macys shopping bags are placed on a table at Herald Square as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on August 20, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production.


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People sit as Macys shopping bags are placed on a table at Herald Square as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on August 20, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production.

Macy’s could face more temporary store closures as coronavirus cases rise rapidly across the U.S., impeding its recovery and the all-important holiday shopping season, executives said Thursday.

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“Covid is surging again across the country,” CEO Jeff Gennette said Thursday during a post-earnings call with analysts. “And that continues to impede our recovery, in international tourism and urban areas. And the supply chains have opened up, yet problems remain.”

The retailer’s online business, which grew 27% during the latest quarter, is expected to grow “at a very aggressive rate” and could expand even faster depending on whether states and cities shutter retailers again, Gennette added.

Macy’s said its flagship stores like its Herald Square location in New York City have been hit the hardest during the pandemic. The lack of tourists and office workers shopping over lunch breaks and after work has hurt traffic, he said.

One of the company’s locations at a mall in El Paso, Texas, is closed due to a surge in cases there. Mall owner Simon Property Group said earlier this month it had been asked to shut down its Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso. The United States has regularly been logging more than 100,000 daily Covid infections in the past two weeks.

Gennette said Macy’s is monitoring other communities closely, and has a strategy to work through additional store closures. “We are getting expert at this,” he said. “We’re ready to go, no matter what comes our way.”

Meantime, Gennette said he is optimistic consumers will be eager to get dressed up again, post-pandemic. The retailer’s sales have declined with fewer people visiting its stores for work clothes, prom dresses and wedding gowns in 2020.

“A vaccination is obviously on everybody’s mind … and I think there is going to be a surge of demand when that happens,” he said.

There will be people who “have been wearing the same clothes, lounging in active and in casual sportswear. … And they’re going to want to dress up,” Gennette said.

Macy’s shares were falling more than 6% Thursday morning.

The company reported a third-quarter, same-store sales decline of more than 20%. And Macy’s said it expects its same-store sales of owned and licensed stores

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The best MagSafe cases, chargers, and accessories for the iPhone 12

If you’ve bought a new iPhone 12, you know all about the new design, display, camera, and iOS 14 enhancements, but there’s one new feature you might not have tried yet: MagSafe. Apple’s new charging system doesn’t quite work out of the box—you’ll need to pony up for some extra equipment to get it to work. Here’s where you should spend your money.

For great holiday deals on Apple gear see our roundup of the best Black Friday deals on iPads, AirPods, Watches, MacBooks, and more.

Clear Case with MagSafe

apple clear magsafe case

Price: $49
Should you buy it: If you want to show off your iPhone 12’s natural color and still keep it in an Apple case, this is your only option. It’s a fine case in that it’s sturdy and should protect your phone from bumps and bruises, but it’s still very hard to remove, very easy to smudge, and has a giant MagSafe target on the back surrounding the Apple logo. The buttons are a little stiff, particularly the power button, but overall, it doesn’t add all that much bulk or weight to the iPhone 12. However, even with the MagSafe component, it’s still a very simple case with a pretty high price tag.

Silicone Case with MagSafe

apple silicone magsage case

Price: $49
Should you buy it: If you want a thin case that offers a bit of protection and a slew of color options, the Silicone Case with MagSafe is your best bet. It comes in eight varieties and is thin enough to easily slip on and off with nice cutouts for the speakers and Lightning port on the bottom edge. There’s no visible MagSafe markings and the charger and other accessories easily connect to the back. It’s not the cheapest silicone case you can buy, but if you want an Apple case that’s sure to work with MagSafe and keeps your iPhone free from scratches, this is the case to get.

Leather Case with MagSafe

apple leather magsafe case

Price: $59
Should you buy it: If you’ve owned an Apple leather iPhone case in the past, you know that they’re very well made and come in a variety of colors. It feels very luxurious to hold and the Baltic Blue model looks great with an embossed Apple logo in the center. The metal buttons are a nice touch and feel great to press, while the bottom has clean cutouts for the speakers and Lightning port. It’s a little pricey, but Apple’s leather MagSafe case is definitely the best of the bunch.

There are several other accessories available from Apple as well, including a Leather Wallet for $59, Duo Charger for $129, and a Leather Sleeve with a hangtag for $129, as well as third-party options from OtterBox and Belkin. We’ll be updating this roundup with those reviews as they arrive.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

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Washington Wedding With More Than 300 Guests Linked To 17 Coronavirus Cases

People who attended a wedding on Nov. 7 near Ritzville, Wash., have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Health officials are asking more than 300 people who were in attendance to get tested and quarantine through Nov. 21, the Grant County Health District said Monday in a statement.

Seventeen cases have been linked to the wedding, and wedding attendees diagnosed with the coronavirus have been linked to two subsequent outbreaks, health officials said. At the time of the event, wedding ceremonies in the area were capped at 30 people.

Weddings continue to be a significant source of outbreaks. A 55-person wedding in Maine in August led to the deaths of seven people who were not in attendance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 177 cases were linked to the wedding.

Washington has seen a total of 131,532 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,548 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. Nearly 2% of people who had the coronavirus in Washington have died.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, as cases surge in Washington, state officials are urging residents to stay home to stop the spread of the virus. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a new order that prohibits indoor gatherings, with some exceptions, and closes indoor dine-in service at bars and restaurants. [Copyright 2020 NPR]

People who attended a wedding on Nov. 7 near Ritzville, Wash., have tested positive for the coronavirus. Health officials are asking more than 300 people who were in attendance to get tested and quarantine through Nov. 21, the Grant County Health District said Monday in a statement.

Seventeen cases have been linked to the wedding, and wedding attendees diagnosed with the coronavirus have been linked to two subsequent outbreaks, health officials said. At the time of the event, wedding ceremonies in the area were capped at 30 people.

Weddings continue to be a significant source of outbreaks. A 55-person wedding in Maine in August led to the deaths of seven people who were not in attendance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 177 cases were linked to the wedding.

Washington has seen a total of 131,532 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,548 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. Nearly 2% of people who had the coronavirus in Washington have died.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, as cases surge in Washington, state officials are urging residents to stay home to stop the spread of the virus. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a new order that prohibits indoor gatherings, with some exceptions, and closes indoor dine-in service at bars and restaurants. [Copyright 2020 NPR]

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300-person wedding in Washington state leads to at least 17 coronavirus cases

A 300-person wedding in Washington state has been linked to more than a dozen coronavirus cases and “two subsequent outbreaks,” health officials said.

The wedding ceremony was held on Nov. 7 in a private location near Ritzville about 59 miles southwest of Spokane.

The Grant County Health District did not release details about the wedding but said in a Facebook post on Monday that 17 people associated with the wedding tested positive for Covid-19 and that more cases are being added daily. There have also been two subsequent outbreaks linked to guests at the wedding who tested positive for Covid-19.

Officials urged all wedding attendees to get tested and to quarantine.

“We are very thankful to those attendees who have gone in for testing and are staying home. This helps protect their friends, coworkers, and communities from this illness,” district administrator Theresa Adkinson said in a statement.

Health officials said it is very unlikely they will be able to reach every guest because people from many communities attended the ceremony.

“Due to the multi-jurisdictional impact of this large event, GCHD felt it was necessary to notify the public,” the agency said.

On Sunday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced tighter restrictions as coronavirus cases in the state continued to rise. As of Monday, the Washington state health department reported 131,532 confirmed cases, according to a Covid-19 dashboard.

Under the governor’s restrictions, wedding ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people and indoor receptions or similar gatherings are prohibited.

The health department said in its Facebook post that wedding organizers should keep a record of attendees and keep that log for at least two weeks.

“Superspreader” wedding ceremonies and receptions have been linked to several outbreaks in other states. At least eight people have died and more than 100 were infected following an August wedding in Millinocket, Maine.

And in New York, a wedding and birthday party led to more than 50 infections and nearly 300 people in quarantine.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said the birthday party in Bellport had about 50 attendees and did not violate emergency state health codes, but showed how quickly the virus can spread when social distancing rules aren’t followed.

The wedding held on Oct. 17 at North Folk Country Club in Cutchogue, Long Island, was in violation of the state’s rule allowing no more than 50 people in a room.

The venue was issued a $17,000 fine, according to officials.

“This kind of blatant disregard for the well being of others is not only extremely disappointing, it will not be tolerated,” Bellone said at a news conference about the wedding.

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Wedding with more than 300 guests linked to at least 17 COVID-19 cases and two outbreaks

A large wedding held in Washington state is linked to at least 17 COVID-19 cases and two subsequent outbreaks, officials in Grant County, Washington said. More than 300 people attended the event, which was held on November 7 in a “private location” near Ritzville, a small city with about 1,600 people, Grant County Health District (GCHD) said in a press release. 

GCHD is now asking those in attendance to get tested for COVID-19 and to self-quarantine through Saturday.

“Due to the multi-jurisdictional impact of this large event, GCHD felt it was necessary to notify the public,” the press release reads. “GCHD is trying to notify attendees about possible exposure, but with more than 300 people attending the wedding from many communities, local health jurisdictions are unlikely to reach them all.” 

The health department called it an evolving situation. District Administrator Theresa Adkinson said they are “thankful to those attendees who have gone in for testing and are staying home,” which helps prevent transmission of the virus to even more people. 

“Wedding organizers are strongly encouraged to keep a log of attendees at each service and to retain that log for at least two weeks,” GCHD said. “If an outbreak occurs, this information may be critical to help save lives.”

The department also recommended that people who attend large events get a COVID-19 test five to seven days after, or sooner if symptoms develop. 

A statewide travel advisory in Washington also recommends a 14-day quarantine for those reentering the state after traveling, and that those who experience COVID-19 symptoms get tested. 

As of Monday, Grant County had 3,754 coronavirus cases and 28 deaths, according to GCHD. The state of Washington has had 131,532 cases and 2,548 deaths, according to the state’s department of health. 

This week, Governor Jay Inslee announced new restrictions that will be in place through Monday, December 14 for all counties in Washington. 

Under the new restrictions, indoor social gatherings with people from different households aren’t allowed unless guests quarantine for 14 days prior to the social gathering, or quarantine for seven days before and receive a negative COVID-19 test.

Outdoor social gatherings are now limited to five people from outside a household, restaurants and bars are closed for indoor dine-in service and gyms’ indoor operations are now closed.

Among other statewide restrictions, wedding ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people and indoor receptions, wakes, or similar gatherings are not allowed. 

The new restrictions come after the state more than 2,000 cases per day a day over the weekend, according to the governor’s office. Average daily cases in Washington have also doubled over the past two weeks.

It’s part of a nationwide surge. Nearly every state saw an uptick in daily cases this week compared to last week, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center. 

Weddings in other states have also been categorized as “superspreaders.” In October, a wedding and birthday party in Long Island, New York lead to at least 56 people testing positive

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Wedding with over 300 guests linked to 17 COVID-19 cases, 2 outbreaks

A large wedding held in Washington state is linked to at least 17 COVID-19 cases and two subsequent outbreaks, officials in Grant County, Washington said. More than 300 people attended the event, which was held on November 7 in a “private location” near Ritzville, a small city with about 1,600 people, Grant County Health District (GCHD) said in a press release. 



a clock tower in the middle of a city street: Downtown Ritzville


© AARON CHESLEDON MCCOY / Getty Images
Downtown Ritzville

GCHD is now asking those in attendance to get tested for COVID-19 and to self-quarantine through Saturday.

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“Due to the multi-jurisdictional impact of this large event, GCHD felt it was necessary to notify the public,” the press release reads. “GCHD is trying to notify attendees about possible exposure, but with more than 300 people attending the wedding from many communities, local health jurisdictions are unlikely to reach them all.” 

The health department called it an evolving situation. District Administrator Theresa Adkinson said they are “thankful to those attendees who have gone in for testing and are staying home,” which helps prevent transmission of the virus to even more people. 

“Wedding organizers are strongly encouraged to keep a log of attendees at each service and to retain that log for at least two weeks,” GCHD said. “If an outbreak occurs, this information may be critical to help save lives.”

The department also recommended that people who attend large events get a COVID-19 test five to seven days after, or sooner if symptoms develop. 

A statewide travel advisory in Washington also recommends a 14-day quarantine for those reentering the state after traveling, and that those who experience COVID-19 symptoms get tested. 

As of Monday, Grant County had 3,754 coronavirus cases and 28 deaths, according to GCHD. The state of Washington has had 131,532 cases and 2,548 deaths, according to the state’s department of health. 

This week, Governor Jay Inslee announced new restrictions that will be in place through Monday, December 14 for all counties in Washington. 

Under the new restrictions, indoor social gatherings with people from different households aren’t allowed unless guests quarantine for 14 days prior to the social gathering, or quarantine for seven days before and receive a negative COVID-19 test.

Outdoor social gatherings are now limited to five people from outside a household, restaurants and bars are closed for indoor dine-in service and gyms’ indoor operations are now closed.

Among other statewide restrictions, wedding ceremonies are limited to no more than 30 people and indoor receptions, wakes, or similar gatherings are not allowed. 

The new restrictions come after the state more than 2,000 cases per day a day over the weekend, according to the governor’s office. Average daily cases in Washington have also doubled over the past two weeks.

It’s part of a nationwide surge. Nearly every state saw an uptick in daily cases this week compared to last week, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center. 

Weddings in other states have also been categorized as “superspreaders.” In October, a wedding and birthday party in Long

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