Boston Has ‘a Long Way to Go Before' Recovery Plan Can Begin, Walsh Says

There are more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases in Boston and over 400 deaths, but the city is aiming to increase testing to better understand the coronavirus' spread

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Boston's coronavirus "curve is slowly bending," Mayor Marty Walsh said at a news conference Wednesday, but the city has much more to do before it's safe to reopen.

One step the city is taking is expanding its testing capability to 1,500 per day by next week, Walsh said. The city is currently averaging 1,100 tests per day.

"We still have a long way to go before we can safely launch our recovery plan," Walsh said outside City Hall.

Boston had a total of 10,241 cases and 449 deaths as of Tuesday, Walsh said, the most recent day for which the figures were available when he spoke. The Department of Public Health released new figures later Wednesday putting the city's total number of cases at 10729.

Walsh addressed the statewide order to wear masks, which went to effect Wednesday. Gov. Charlie Baker has largely left it up to municipalities to enforce the order, and unlike some other Massachusetts cities, Walsh hasn't created a plan to enforce it yet.

It's still being looked at, Walsh said Wednesday, but noted that he's heard reports of uneven or inequitable enforcement in other cities.

"The purpose of our guidelines is to empower and keep your families and your communities safe. Our approach is to support you, not to punish you," Walsh said.

His comments came shortly after Baker said Massachusetts could begin reopening on May 18 -- when the closure of non-essential business is set to expire -- but only if the number of coronavirus patients at local hospitals continues to fall.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, after congratulating a new class of state troopers, said the state could begin reopening on May 18 if the number of coronavirus patients continues to decrease.

Walsh had a cautiously optimistic tone on Boston's situation: "We are seeing that we are moving in the right direction and a lot of that is because of the precautions that we are taking, but the curve is slowly bending."

He reiterated that continued social distancing and similar practices are what will get Boston to "a healthy reopening and an equitable recovery.

Testing is a crucial component of tracking and containing the virus, Walsh said. The city has already stepped up its testing capabilities, and reaching 1,500 tests a day would more than double the testing rate of just a week ago.

"The more testing we can do, the more we can reduce our positive infection rate," the mayor said.

The city has been working with community centers to test the city's population and this week opened two new testing centers in Jamaica Plain and another in Charlestown. The city is also rolling out a mobile testing van to conduct 150 a day, six days a week; it will enable more targeted testing, Walsh said.

To make an appointment for a test -- which is still required -- and see a full list of available locations, go to

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