The coronavirus surge has begun in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday.
“We are in the surge,” he said, based on the number of cases the state is seeing and the conversations his administration has had with hospitals in Boston and across the state.
Baker had said all along that the surge would start between April 7 and April 10, and he said those projections appear to have been accurate. The surge is expected to last until approximately April 20, with as many as 172,000 cases statewide.
But the governor also expressed optimism Wednesday that the state is well equipped to weather the surge.
On the seventh anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, Baker said the state has shown before how strong it is, and is showing that strength in the face of crisis again.
Gov. Baker provides a COVID-19 update in Massachusetts.
“April 15, 2013 was a dark day for the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and our country,” he said. “The lives taken and the lives changed forever are never far from our thoughts. There was a lot of sadness that day, but there was also bravery, compasssion and strength.”
Now, as the state endures a worldwide pandemic, Baker said residents are rising to the task once more.
“Every day, nurses, doctors, public safety personnel and countless others are rushing to the front lines,” he said. “Millions of Massachusetts residents are sacrificing, upending their lives to protect themselves from the further spread… We will get through this. We will get through it together, just like we have so many times before.”
Pharmacists are waiting for state guidance to begin coronavirus testing after getting federal authorization to do so last week.
Baker also spoke Wednesday about how the state continues to increase its testing capacity, to add beds at field hospitals across the state and to work to acquire more personal protective equipment. State health officials are also focused on working with nursing homes and assisted living facilities to help manage and contain coronavirus outbreaks there.
On Tuesday, state health officials announced 113 new deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 957. The state has reported 28,163 cases overall.
Baker said Tuesday that his administration has started talking about reopening the state’s economy, but there is much work to be done before a plan like that can be put into motion.
The War Memorial Recreational Center in Cambridge has become an emergency shelter for the homeless and for people who need a place to quarantine during the coronavirus crisis.
“Contact tracing and testing will be important,” he said. “We think at the end of the day, testing, tracing, isolation, quarantine — those are big parts of any legitimate effort to reopen.”
The governor said he will work collaboratively with the six other states — including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island — that have formed a joint task force to look into when the reopening of the economy could begin.
“We’re going to work collaboratively, but we’re going to do in the end what’s right for Massachusetts,” he said. “Reversing course too soon, opening up before we’re ready and have a plan in place to make sure we can monitor and measure will only make matters worse.”