Walsh says city’s coronavirus response will extend ‘well into July and August’ as cases continue to rise

BOSTON (WHDH) - Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Thursday that he expects the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic will extend “well into July and August” as the number of cases in Boston continues to climb significantly each day.

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From Wednesday to Thursday, an additional 312 confirmed coronavirus cases were reported, bringing the total number of cases in Boston to 2,812, Walsh said during a news conference at City Hall.

The jump marks the largest day-to-day increase in cases since the start of the outbreak.

“This is a virus, so it’s very unpredictable,” Walsh told reporters. “Let me just be clear, we’re not going to be out of the woods by May 4 when the emergency order expires as of right now but that might be extended. We’re looking into the summer months. We’ll still be talking about coronavirus every single day in Boston well into July and August.”

As of Thursday, 34 Bostonians had died from the coronavirus. Nearly 330 city residents have recovered.

In anticipation of a surge in cases in the coming days, city officials say they have been speaking with local hospitals about bed and ventilator capacity.

Walsh also said a 1,000-bed field medical station is expected to open Friday at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

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The field medical station will have 500 beds reserved for individuals infected with coronavirus and 500 will provide shelter for the homeless population.

Walsh also announced a new COVID-19 Health Inequities Task Force to provide guidance to Boston on addressing current inequities in data analysis, testing sites and health care services for Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and immigrants.

“We know that there are significant inequities that put our communities of color and immigrant population at higher risk for contracting coronavirus, developing severe illness, and impeding them from accessing care,” Walsh said. “Data is critical to knowing how deep these inequities run and to help the public better understand the virus and its risks.”

Walsh also urged all Bostonians to stay home, refrain from traveling, and continue to practice good social distancing habits.

Earlier this week, a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. took effect in the city. All residents are also encouraged to wear face masks when outside.

Coronavirus cases are expected to peak between April 10 and April 20.

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