Baker: Key coronavirus data elements trending down in Massachusetts

BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday announced several key coronavirus metrics that are linked to unlocking new phases in the state’s four-phase reopening plan are trending down and “in the right direction” across Massachusetts.

The average number of new positive coronavirus tests has dropped to less than 9 percent, marking a major decline from the 30 percent positive test rate in April, according to Baker. Hospitalizations have also dipped.

“We have about 2,100 cases currently hospitalized. That number continues to trend downward in the right direction over the course of the past few weeks,” Baker said during a news conference that followed a tour of a Blue Line construction site at Maverick Square station. “These numbers show steady progress.”

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In recent days, Baker has said that a “sustained downward trend” in positive test rates, hospitalization rates, ICU capacity, and fatalities will be key to unlocking Phase 2 of the state’s path to a “new normal.”

Despite the hopeful outlook, Baker said the state will continue to closely monitor all data trends.

“We are going to continue to closely monitor them as we work toward a phased reopening of the Commonwealth’s economy,” Baker said. “As we said before, that public health data will guide our reopening process.”

Via Mass.gov

On Memorial Day, the rest of the businesses allowed to reopen under Phase 1 began welcoming back customers, including barbershops, hair salons, and retailers offering curbside pickup.

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“Having businesses reopen and seeing workers getting back to a routine is, of course, for all of us incredibly encouraging,” Baker said.

Each phase will last a minimum of three weeks and could last longer before moving to the next phase, depending upon what public health data trends indicate, according to Baker.

Things like dental offices, restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, playgrounds, public pools, youth sports leagues, and spas, which are listed under Phase 2 of the reopening plan, could open as early as June 8.

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“Over the next few days we will continue to monitor public health trends and the data trends to see if they change,” Baker said.

Baker urged all residents to continue to practice social distancing, maintain good hygiene habits, wear face coverings or masks, and stay vigilant for COVID-19 symptoms.

He again asked employers to continue to allow employees to work from home. Last week, Baker said extending work-from-home policies is “absolutely the right thing to do.”

On Tuesday, Baker stated that the coronavirus surge was “behind us.”

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