Walsh: Public’s focus needs to be on ‘saving lives, preventing spread of coronavirus’

BOSTON (WHDH) - With more than 1,800 Bay State residents now infected with the coronavirus and 15 people dead from the sickness, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Wednesday that the public’s sole focus should be on doing everything they can do to save lives, prevent the spread of the virus, and ensure that local hospitals are not overrun in the days and weeks ahead.

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Twenty-one people in Boston have recovered from the virus, while two people have passed away, Walsh announced during a press conference outside Boston City Hall. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 284 confirmed cases in the city, up from 87 on Tuesday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those families. Each loss is a reminder of what we need to be doing to slow the spread of this virus,” Walsh told reporters. “Our focus in Boston and what it should be in the country right now is on public health…The focus should be on saving lives and preventing the spread of the virus because every life is worth saving. I also want to be clear that there are no other options. If our health systems get overwhelmed, there will be serious implications.”

Walsh urged Bostonians, along with all Massachusetts residents, to adhere to the Department of Public Health’s “stay-at-home advisory,” especially to ensure local hospitals are not overrun with sick patients.

“People need to stay at home and practice social distancing,” Walsh said. “We’re asking you to wash your hands with soap and water, and use hand sanitizer. If you have to go out, wear gloves.”

Walsh also announced that the Boston Resiliency Fund has surpassed its initial $20 million target in just over a week’s time.

“That’s an incredible testament to our community,” Walsh said.

The money that has been raised will be put toward purchasing additional Chromebooks for Boston Public Schools students. More than 18,000 children have already been set up with laptops, according to Walsh.

Five million dollars in grants and funds will also be given to programs that specialize in providing services for senior citizens and low-income food providers including the Greater Boston Food Bank, Meals on Wheels ETHOS, Fresh Truck, Project Bread.

Boston Medical Center, the Pine Street Inn, and others that provide healthcare services for the city’s vulnerable populations will also receive funding.

Those interested in donating to the fund should visit Boston.gov/coronavirus.

Walsh urged residents to continue to support local restaurants by ordering takeout and calling for delivery. He said that the city’s plastic bag ban has been temporarily lifted so essential businesses can provide them to customers free of charge.

The commuter rail has adjusted its schedule to help healthcare workers and other essential employees get into Boston for earlier shifts, Walsh noted. More Bluebikes stands have also been opened.

RELATED: What businesses are staying open in Mass. while ‘stay-at-home’ advisory is in effect?

Walsh reminded residents to text BOSCOVID to 99-411 to get daily coronavirus updates on their phones.

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