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Cambridge Declares Public Health Emergency Over Coronavirus Outbreak

The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Department of Public Health declared a public health emergency Mar. 18.
The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Department of Public Health declared a public health emergency Mar. 18. By Jacqueline S. Chea
By Ellen M. Burstein, Crimson Staff Writer

The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Department of Public Health declared a public health emergency Thursday evening as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a press release.

The emergency declaration is designed to “facilitate and expedite” the use of resources to protect people from the virus, which has all but shuttered Harvard’s campus for the remainder of the semester.

Harvard announced March 10 that the University would transition to online classes as a result of the outbreak. Most students have since vacated campus, and only a few remain in residence, with restricted living and dining policies.

The city announced in the press release that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has awarded Cambridge $100,000 in emergency resources. The funding is part of a $5 million grant Governor Charlie D. Baker ’79 issued to state health boards.

Cambridge will employ the grant to monitor and combat COVID-19 in the city by increasing surveillance, providing overtime for staff, and purchasing additional personal protective equipment.

“We are grateful to Governor Charlie Baker and his Administration for making this critical funding available to support public health as our city continues to respond to the challenges of COVID-19,” Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale wrote in a joint statement.

The City of Cambridge previously announced a number of administrative measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. All “non-essential” city meetings have been cancelled, and the city’s public schools will remain closed until at least March 27.

—Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at ellen.burstein@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.

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