BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday that Massachusetts now ranks among the “leading” coronavirus testers in America before announcing that he believes “we are in the surge” phase of the pandemic.

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“We believe testing is crucial not only to our current efforts to understand and slow the spread of this disease but because it will play a critical role over the longterm as we work through decisions around reopening parts of our community,” Baker said during a news conference at the State House.

A total of 126,551 tests have been conducted, including 4,500 that were administered Tuesday at 28 sites across the state, according to Baker.

“This makes Massachusetts one of the leading states in the country with respect to testing,” Baker said. “We’re grateful to our colleagues in the life science and medical community whose laboratories are a big part of Massachusetts’ progress on this front.”

Baker also announced that the coronavirus “surge” has arrived in the Commonwealth.

“We said all along that we thought the surge would arrive between the 7th and 10th of April,” Baker said. “Based on the conversations that we are having every day with our colleagues in the hospital community, I would say that we are in the surge.”

Despite the grim day-to-day outlook, Baker expressed confidence in the public’s ability to overcome this nightmare of a crisis.

“The one thing I am absolutely sure of, and that is never in doubt, is the remarkable people of Massachusetts. We will get through this,” Baker said. “We will get through it together, just like we have, so many times before.”

Earlier this month, Baker said that modeling from Wuhan, China, indicated that confirmed coronavirus cases could hit 172,000 on or after April 20.

On Wednesday, there were 151 new deaths reported, bringing the state’s total to 1,108. There were 113 new deaths reported on Tuesday.

Baker also noted that the state has launched initiatives to test seniors living in longterm care facilities, as well as individuals with developmental disabilities.

“Testing is crucial for a number of reasons but most of all it gives us the opportunity to identify and then isolate people who have tested positive and to make sure they get treatment,” Baker said. “It helps us understand where the outbreaks are.”

The state is continually “working around-the-clock” to obtain more pieces of personal protective equipment, according to Baker. An additional “Air Kraft” delivery arrived Tuesday night and FEMA said it is sending one million units of gear to the Bay State.

Baker added that there are nearly 20,000 “suitable” beds available for COVID-19 patients and that a new online system will be used to track bed capacity.

“All along the goal has been to plan for the worst, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” Baker said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders also announced that starting on Wednesday, the state will be releasing a weekly update on coronavirus cases by cities and towns.

Baker confirmed that the state’s third field hospital on Cape Cod will be open by Monday.

He also announced plans to open dedicated COVID-19 centers in Brewster, Falmouth, New Bedford, East Longmeadow, and Great Barrington.

 

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