Walsh says it will likely be ‘quite some time’ before Boston returns to normalcy

BOSTON (WHDH) - Despite preventive measures that have been successful in slowing the spread of coronavirus, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Friday that it will likely be “quite some time” before Boston returns to normalcy.

“I don’t think that we’re going to be ready to come back to normal business in the city of Boston for quite some time,” Walsh said during a news conference at City Hall.

As of right now, Gov. Charlie Baker’s stay-at-home order is slated to expire on May 4, but Walsh stated that he has “concerns” about whether the state will reopen on that date.

“I hope I’m wrong but we’re still seeing a daily rise in cases and deaths in the city of Boston. We’re still seeing a surge and we haven’t reached our peak yet,” Walsh explained. “Right now, our focus is on keeping residents safe and healthy.”

Walsh said he has been in contact with Baker about possibly extending the emergency order and that discussions are ongoing.

“We’ll continue to take this one day at a time. When the time is appropriate, the proper decision will be announced to everyone,” Walsh said.

RELATED: Mass. ‘still in surge’ phase of coronavirus pandemic, residents keep getting ‘very sick,’ Baker warns

On Thursday, confirmed coronavirus cases in Boston climbed to 6,958 and the death toll jumped to 232, but Walsh credited social distancing and other preventive measures with keeping those numbers down.

“These numbers would be much higher if we had not taken very strong steps,” Walsh said. “The closure and social distancing rules have made a big difference. Our planning for our medical capacity has also made a big difference.”

Walsh thanked every Bostonian for protecting the community by staying inside, covering their face, and washing their hands. He stressed that residents cannot stop practicing those things until further notice.

“We need you to keep it up and I’m asking you to keep it up,” Walsh said. “We need to treat every single day like it is the most important day in the outbreak.”

Walsh said the city is working to secure a “massive” amount of tests so people can safely return to society and work.

He noted that only 19,000 of Boston’s 700,000 residents have been tested for coronavirus.

The city has also obtained an additional 1,000 tests, which will allow public health officials to test all residents in Boston’s shelter system over the next two weeks.

Click here for more coronavirus coverage.

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)