AP NEWS

Massachusetts reports 3 virus deaths, bringing total to 5

March 22, 2020 GMT
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Passers-by walk near an empty storefront along Newbury St., ordinarily a busy shopping area in Boston, Sunday, March 22, 2020. Many business in the city have closed their doors until further notice out of concern about the spread of the coronavirus. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
1 of 12
Passers-by walk near an empty storefront along Newbury St., ordinarily a busy shopping area in Boston, Sunday, March 22, 2020. Many business in the city have closed their doors until further notice out of concern about the spread of the coronavirus. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts health officials reported three new deaths from the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the state’s total to five.

State health officials say two men in their 70s, from Hampden and Berkshire counties, and a man in his 90s from Suffolk County died of illness related to COVID-19. All three had been hospitalized, and the Berkshire County man had an underlying health condition.

Massachusetts officials announced the state’s first death on Friday. That case involved a man in his 80s from Suffolk County. The second death was reported Saturday, a Middlesex County woman in her 50s.

As of Sunday, health officials say 646 Massachusetts residents had tested positive for COVID-19. Residents have been asked to avoid crowds and to stay 6 feet away from others as the state works to prevent spread of the virus.

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GROCERY WORKERS

Workers at Shaws, Stop & Shop and other grocery chains across the Northeast are getting temporary pay raises as stores struggle to keep up with demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Stop & Shop chain announced Saturday that workers will get a 10% raise and two extra weeks of paid sick time during the pandemic. Albertsons, the parent company over brands including Shaw’s, Star Market and Jewel-Osco, said Friday that workers will be paid an additional $2 per hour. Whole Foods also announced temporary raises of $2 per hour.

United Food and Commercial Workers, a union representing 1.3 million grocery and retail workers, applauded Stop & Shop for the increased pay and sick time. Union President Marc Perrone said it will “not only protect these hard-working men and women, it will help protect the food supply throughout our communities.”

In announcing raises at Albertsons stores, the company’s president and CEO praised employees for working “tirelessly” to keep pantries and medicine cabinets stocked.

“These times are unprecedented in the grocery industry,” Vivek Sankaran said in a statement. “This simple ‘thank you’ doesn’t seem like quite enough — and we hope our sincere appreciation with this program is a start.”

Groceries across the U.S. have been slammed as customers stock up on food and supplies, leaving stores struggling to resupply toilet paper and other staples.

Public officials have urged against such panic buying, saying there’s plenty to go around. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has repeatedly warned that “filling your basement with two years of canned soup just means your neighbor will have to go without.”

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