Gov. Charlie Baker shared his thoughts Thursday on the presidential election, expressing hope that the country will be able to move forward and heal once a winner is eventually declared.
Though he didn't mention President Donald Trump by name, the Massachusetts governor did say that he feels the country has lost its way. Baker, a Republican, has criticized Trump in the past, and said he abstained from voting in this presidential election.
"The greatness of this country rests in its diversity," Baker said. "That this is a place that people come from all over the world with different nationalities, and when they get here, they're Americans. And this is a country, historically, that has always valued, most of all, the opportunity to give people a chance to be different. And I really worry that at some point along the way here we have treated our differences as dividers instead of opportunities for growth."
"My view on this is really simple," he added. "Every vote matters, every vote should be counted, and when we get to the end of the process and we figure out who won and who lost, we have to move forward and recognize and understand that at the end of the day, we succeed and are at our best when we recognize and appreciate the fact that it's a big country with lots of points of view. And we all have chances to grow and be better by incorporating those into how we make decisions and how we think about making our community -- however you want to define it -- better."
Baker offered his remarks while attending a ribbon cutting for The Heights at Haverhill, a new apartment complex on the banks of the Merrimack River.
His comments came a day before his new coronavirus control measures are scheduled to take effect. But he spoke only briefly on that subject.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, a stay-at-home advisory will be in effect for Massachusetts residents from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m., on-site restaurant service and entertainment venues will need to close at 9:30 p.m., and indoor gatherings will be capped at 10 people.
Baker said Thursday that his administration has had several conversations with their colleagues in local government and with associations that represent many of the industries most affected by the new restrictions. Based on those conversations, he said the state will likely be offering some clarification on the new rules in the near future.
Massachusetts reported 1,629 new confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday and an additional 27 deaths. It's a return to last week's levels after a few days under 1,000.
There have now been 9,836 confirmed deaths and 158,937 cases, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Another 226 deaths are considered probably linked to COVID-19.
The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, has ticked up to 1.9%, according to the report.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased to 502. Of that number, 109 were listed as being in intensive care units and 55 are intubated, according to DPH.