- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 26, 2020

BOSTON (AP) - A cluster of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts was traced to a bachelorette party in Rhode Island late last month, Gov. Charlie Baker said.

Health officials in both states said 19 guests who attended the late July gathering at an undisclosed location were sickened. Seventeen were from Massachusetts and two were from Rhode Island. Contact tracing was done on all positive cases.

Baker referred to the event at a news conference Tuesday as he discussed the importance of face coverings, social distancing and proper hygiene.

Other coronavirus developments in Massachusetts:

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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

Massachusetts reported 26 newly confirmed coronavirus deaths and more than 300 newly confirmed cases on Wednesday, pushing the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to more than 8,750 and its confirmed caseload to more than 117,000.

The seven-day weighted average of positive tests was about 1.1%. The true number of cases is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were more than 350 people reported hospitalized Wednesday because of COVID-19, while nearly 70 were in intensive care units.

The number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 related deaths at long-term care homes rose to 5,755 or about 64% of all confirmed and probable deaths in Massachusetts attributed to the disease.

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LIMITED LIBRARY REOPENING

The main branch of the Boston Public Library is reopening to the public on a limited basis for the first time since March to allow city residents to use the computers, officials say.

The program will allow people to search for jobs, attend online classes, download ebooks and do other online tasks in a socially distant setting, library officials and Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement Tuesday.

In addition, the library is providing free, 24-hour, outdoor Wi-Fi access at nine branch locations across the city.

“By providing computer and Wi-Fi access, we will provide a digital lifeline to many Bostonians, helping our libraries fulfill their mission to provide educational and cultural resources, free to all,” Walsh said in a statement.

Residents can sign up for a two-hour window to use computers at the main branch in Copley Square.

The library has been closed to the general public since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, although residents can go to a library to pick up reserved books.

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STOP THE SPREAD

Massachusetts has added another free coronavirus testing site as part of its Stop the Spread program.

The testing site in Winthrop announced Wednesday joins 20 others around the state.

The program is aimed at communities that are above the state average in total COVID-19 cases and positive test rates, yet have experienced a decline in testing levels since April.

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