Baker: Massachusetts preparing for surge in coronavirus cases

BOSTON (WHDH) - Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that state officials, first responders, and healthcare workers are preparing for a surge in coronavirus cases in April.

“Most of the calculations that are out there with respect to Massachusetts — both some of the ones that we’ve done and some of the ones other people have done — suggest that the surge here is probably going to start between the 7th and the 17th,” Baker said during his daily coronavirus briefing at the State House.

In response to President Trump extending restrictive social distancing guidelines through the end of April on Sunday, Baker said that his administration would reevaluate his closure of non-essential businesses and stay-at-home order, both of which run through April 7. He said an announcement on the orders would likely come on Tuesday.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert said Sunday that based on models, the United States could eventually see 100,000 or more coronavirus-related deaths.

When asked about Dr. Anthony Fauci’s prediction, Baker said, “I know a couple of people who have lost people as a result of the COVID-19 virus and it’s a way more personal item in my mind than any number you can put on it.”

As of Monday, there were 5,752 confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts and 56 deaths.

Baker also said that hundreds of businesses across the Bay State have shown interest in donating personal protective equipment to local healthcare workers who are on the frontline battling the virus.

The governor added that the state has received a shipment of personal protective equipment from the strategic national stockpile and that 1,000 ventilators will soon be arriving in Massachusetts.

“I think the quick turnaround we got on our ventilator request, which was processed in 48 hours or so, is a big positive step forward in the right direction,” Baker said of the federal government’s response.

Baker added that the state currently has $50 million on order for additional supplies. He said the state will “obviously” need more to weather the surge.

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