Gov. Baker: Mass. to See ‘Enormous Increase' in Coronavirus Testing Within Days

Massachusetts has reported 256 cases of the novel coronavirus

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Massachusetts will soon see a significant increase in its testing capabilities for the coronavirus as the state ramps up its efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday.

"We believe that over the course of the next several days and weeks, there will be an enormous increase in the amount of testing that takes place on a daily basis," Baker said after touring a Quest Diagnostics laboratory in Marlboro where tests are being processed.

He said companies including Quest Diagnostics, hospitals and the state laboratory have pivoted to focus on coronavirus testing after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control broadened guidelines on who can receive testing.

The governor also announced that small businesses will get disaster relief amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Massachusetts reported Wednesday that there are now 256 cases of COVID-19, a jump from 218 just a day earlier.

Baker said the Small Business Association had approved the state's request to provide disaster relief, which he said would be made available to small businesses.

Massachusetts is one of the states in the U.S. with the most coronavirus cases in the country so far. While no one has died from the virus locally, more than 100 people have died nationwide. On Thursday, Connecticut reported a second Covid-19-related death in the state, which was also the second in New England.

Severe restrictions to daily life have been ordered in Massachusetts, including canceled school, limits to gathering in groups and eating in restaurants, as the state fights to mitigate the spread of the deadly pandemic.

We are focusing on the state of the restaurant industry in this week's episode of Restaurant Recap. What you need to know, options for takeout/delivery and how you can help.

On Wednesday, Baker said early education centers and family child care providers will close starting Monday.

Over 2,000 Massachusetts residents have been quarantined due to coronavirus, according to the latest numbers.

The new figures show that 2,054 residents have been subjected to quarantine, with 1,168 still under quarantine and 886 who are no longer in quarantine. That's nearly double the total of 1,083 from a week ago.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles reopened on Wednesday which drew large crowds of people standing in line, despite Gov. Baker and Mayor Walsh's call for social distancing in Massachusetts.

For days, the majority of Massachusetts' cases accounted for in the Department of Public Health's numbers were related to an employee meeting held by local biotech company Biogen at a downtown Boston hotel. But that is no longer the case -- Wednesday's figures report 97 people tied to the meeting directly or through members of their household.

Thirty-eight cases have been found to be transmitted locally and 26 are travel related, according to the numbers. Another 95 remain under investigation.

Someone now has the coronavirus in at least 11 of the state's 14 counties.

One hundred of the state's cases are in Middlesex County, 45 in Norfolk, 51 in Suffolk, 17 in Berkshire, 14 in Essex, 10 in Worcester, five in Bristol and Plymouth, two in Barnstable, two in Hampden and one in Franklin. Four other cases haven't yet been traced to a specific location.

Twenty-seven cases so far have been confirmed as needing hospitalization, while 78 remain under investigation and 151 people haven't needed to go to the hospital at all.

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