Massachusetts COVID-19 Cases Cross 5,000 Mark; Deaths Rise to 56

Gov. Charlie Baker walks up to the podium for a daily COVID-19 briefing, trailed by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. (File photograph by Sam Doran/SHNS.)

The number of COVID-19 fatalities in Massachusetts continued its climb Monday when the state reported another eight deaths, bringing the state’s total number of deaths linked to the disease to 56.

The overall number of cases here crossed the 5,000 mark Monday and rose to 5,752, up almost 800 from Sunday, the Department of Public Health reported Monday. Haverhill reported three new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 45.

Massachusetts has continued to ramp up its testing capacity, with the number of people tested landing at almost 43,000 Monday, an increase of more than 3,700 over Sunday. In a video update posted after three consecutive overnight shifts, emergency physician and Boston state Rep. Jon Santiago said the state’s testing numbers are “fantastic” and said it’s time to focus now on contact tracing.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, the head of the state’s coronavirus command center, said Friday that more information on tracking and tracing measures would be announced this week. Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated that on Monday.

The governor said Monday that the surge in COVID-19 cases that the state and its health care system have been bracing for looks like it will hit Massachusetts between April 7 and April 17, underscoring the importance of continued social distancing efforts. The governor identified four key areas of focus in the days leading up to the peak: protective gear, hospital bed capacity, ventilators and staffing.

One step the administration is taking is setting up dedicated nursing homes to treat older patients with COVID-19, aiming to prevent those individuals from infecting other residents and staff in skilled nursing facilities.

With cases of the virus now reported in all counties of Massachusetts and most new cases linked to community transmission, the DPH on Saturday stopped its daily reporting of exposure.

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