COVID-19 cases climb statewide

State House News Service
Published: 4/10/2020 4:19:05 PM
Modified: 4/10/2020 4:18:49 PM

BOSTON — On the eve of what could prove to be a period of significant strain on the state's health care systems, the number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts climbed to nearly 19,000 and the number of residents who have died of the disease topped 500.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed three executive orders Thursday aiming to expand the health care system's capacity and ensure access to COVID-19 treatment, including in field hospitals, as the anticipated surge of patients nears. The governor has said the surge is expected to hit sometime between April 10 and April 20.

"By April 10 we need to be in a position to assume we are going to see a fairly significant increase in hospitalizations," Baker said this week.

On Thursday afternoon, the governor said the surge is on track "to land about when we thought it was going to land" but stressed that he doesn't "have a crystal ball with respect to how long it's going to last or how high it's going to go."

The Department of Public Health reported Thursday that there are now 18,941 cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts — an increase of 2,151 over Wednesday — and that 503 residents have died, an increase of 70 from the day before.

DPH's Thursday update reported 1,747 patients hospitalized, 5,106 not hospitalized and 12,088 for whom hospitalization status is unknown.

The situation at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, where at least two dozen veterans have died in recent weeks amid an outbreak of the coronavirus, was cast in new light Thursday when the suspended superintendent challenged Baker's timeline of events and the governor's suggestion that the home was not in proper contact with the administration.

As the state of emergency in Massachusetts nears the one month mark and workers find themselves out of a job for longer than they initially thought, the state is working to keep up with historic demand for unemployment benefits.

The Legislature was active Thursday, though the branches were not able to find agreement on a bill providing housing security during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the House and Senate plan to appoint a conference committee of six lawmakers to iron out the differences between the branches' approaches.

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