Gov. Charlie Baker urged Massachusetts residents to "stay vigilant" on Thursday as coronavirus cases continue to explode in other parts of the country.
"It's especially important as the rest of the country has experienced significant increases in recent weeks that we stay vigilant here in Massachusetts," he said. "We all have a responsibility. We would just ask you to all continue to play by the rules and do the things that stop the spread."
In Florida, one of the hardest hit states in recent weeks, authorities reported a record 156 new coronavirus-related deaths Thursday. The U.S. has now reached more than 3.5 million cases of the coronavirus and more than 138,000 deaths.
Baker thanked Massachusetts residents for their role in helping to contain the virus and said they should continue to wear masks or other face coverings when out in public.
"It's pretty clear at this point that the Commonwealth has made significant progress to slow the progress of COVID-19 since March, gradually reopen our economy and expand testing capacity statewide, due in large part to the cooperation and participation of every resident," he added. "This is no time to let down our guard."
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Baker also announced another $20 million in funding to help support vulnerable families affected by the COVID pandemic, adding to two other $20 million pools already deployed or in the works.
Housing supports have been a focus in recent weeks amid widespread economic strain and record levels of unemployment. The administration has not indicated its plans for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures Baker signed in April. That temporary ban expires Aug. 18, but Baker has authority to extend it in 90-day increments. "We recognize and understand that we're going to need to make a decision on that soon," he said when asked about the moratorium.
Baker also voiced concerns Thursday about declining access to U.S. Centers for Disease Control data and said his order requiring face coverings in public would remain in effect until the end of the state of emergency.
Massachusetts reported 28 confirmed and probable COVID-19-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed and probable deaths since the beginning of the pandemic to 8,368 in the state.
There were 217 newly confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, reported Wednesday — bringing the total number of confirmed and probable cases to more than 112,300 in Massachusetts.
There were 580 people reported hospitalized Tuesday because of COVID-19, while 80 were in intensive care units.
The number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 related deaths at long-term care homes rose to 5,303 or more than 63% of all confirmed and probable deaths in Massachusetts attributed to the disease.
State House News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.