Baker activates Mass. National Guard as coronavirus cases in Bay State rise above 300

BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker activated the Massachusetts National Guard Thursday to support the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Baker’s order authorized the activation of up to 2,000 National Guard members across the Commonwealth as confirmed cases in the Bay State rose to 328.

The National Guard will be tasked with supporting requests from state agencies for equipment, logistics, warehousing, and other related duties.

Local cities, towns, and state agencies are being told to submit requests for support through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

“Activating the National Guard will help support our administration’s efforts to keep residents safe and secure during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Baker said in a statement. “The expertise of the Massachusetts National Guard will benefit our communities with logistical support and other assistance as we continue to respond to this crisis.”

Earlier in the day, Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said that by Monday, the state hopes to have the capacity to process 3,500 tests between the state lab in Jamaica Plain, Quest Diagnostics, and the Broad Insitute.

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“I know that the speed to get test specimens in and responses back to providers will be quickened,” Sudders told reporters.

Baker has previously said that expanding testing is among his top priorities.

Tests are currently being prioritized for first responders, healthcare workers, and those in critical condition, according to Sudders.

Baker declared a state of emergency on March 10.

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