Confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts jumped by 382, the state reported on Tuesday, bringing the total number in the state to 1,159 — up from 777 on Monday.
Two more coronavirus-related deaths — a woman in her 80s from Middlesex County and a woman in her 60s from Berkshire County — were also reported by the state, raising the total count to 11. Both were hospitalized and had underlying health conditions.
According to the numbers posted by the state, tests for 13,749 people had been completed as of Tuesday, up from 8,922 on Monday. State testing numbers are as of 12:30 p.m. and include positive test results from the CDC.
The new numbers were reported a few hours after Governor Charlie Baker said the debate in Washington over legislation to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been appalling and called for action, instead of partisanship.
During a press conference in the early afternoon, Baker said officials in Washington should take a lesson from state and local officials who have been working together without “partisan bend” and “stepping up” to address the pandemic.
“Frankly, it’s been appalling, but I can’t say I’ve been surprised,” said the Republican governor. “This kind of partisan behavior is simply not an option now.”
“Make a deal. Make a deal,” he said. “I think it’s critical that these folks find a way to yes and create some clarity and some certainty not just for state government and local government but for the people of the country who are waiting to see the federal government lead on this issue.”
“We all hope Congress will get the job done soon,” he said. “It may take a little longer than it should ... but I’m hopeful and confident that they will and that they will soon.”
Baker, in a State House news conference, also said that the state was continuing to ramp up its testing capabilities.
“We’re continuing to make progress on increasing the number of tests completed as well as our testing capacity,” he said.
Baker last week said there would be an “enormous increase” in testing and that he wanted to get to 3,500 tests a day.
“We’re not there yet, but that’s where we need to get to,” he said Tuesday.
He said “far more testing” is needed along with the “tracking and tracing and isolation [of patients] that comes with that.”
Baker continued to emphasize the need for people to practice “social distancing” and stay at home to slow the spread of the virus.
He said the intent was to “flatten the curve so that the number of cases doesn’t overwhelm our health care system all at once.”
Baker reiterated his call for young people to exercise caution to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Even if you’re a young person who thinks this isn’t going to be a problem for you, Number 1, you probably have parents or grandparents, for whom this could be an enormous problem,” Baker warned.
He said that even though “you may not feel it, or even know if you have it, you can, in fact, and in many cases might be a carrier and you could deliver it to someone you really care about. This is not something to quibble about if you’re young, just because you’re young.”
In other news from the update by Baker and other officials on the state’s coronavirus response:
— Baker said residents can text COVIDMA to 888777 to sign up for the state’s new coronavirus alert system, which will send out updates on coronavirus response.
— Baker said the state has delivered about 750,000 masks, face shields, gowns and gloves from the national stockpile to health care facilities. He also praised the state’s dental community for donating masks, hand sanitizers, and gloves, saying, “We are very grateful that so many people are helping out during this critical effort."
— Baker also said he’s filing a bill with the Legislature that would allow cities and towns to loosen a variety of state-mandated regulations and deadlines around budgeting and tax collection, education policy, construction permitting — and even the rules preventing restaurants from selling alcohol to-go.
Baker on Monday ordered all nonessential businesses in Massachusetts to close their doors by midday Tuesday and urged the state’s nearly 7 million people to stay home.
The total number of deaths from the virus in the state rose to 9 on Monday, up from 5 on Sunday, the state Department of Public Health reported.
The United States has seen nearly nearly 600 deaths due to the coronavirus. More than 17,000 people worldwide have died from it, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Daily life has come to a standstill in countries around the world, and the world economy is staggering as authorities have asked or ordered people to practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of the virus. There is no cure for the virus and no vaccine.
Going against the advice of scientists and top health experts, President Trump has called for a swift return to work, against the advice of public health experts.
For most people, the virus 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.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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