Gov. Baker: ‘Difficult Days Ahead' as Coronavirus Cases in Mass. Surge

He spoke from Joint Base Cape Cod in Buzzards Bay, which has been set up as a field hospital to help treat coronavirus patients

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that there are "difficult days and weeks ahead" as officials continue to prepare for the coronavirus peak to hit the state.

"Everyone is doing the things they need to do to stay distant and stop the spread," he said. "Our data is showing we have some very difficult days and weeks ahead. We're planning for the worst case scenario."

Gov. Baker provides a COVID-19 update in Massachusetts.

Part of that planning involves opening field hospitals like the one at Joint Base Cape Cod in Buzzards Bay that Baker toured Tuesday. The new field hospital will have a 94-bed capacity and is expected to begin taking patients on Monday.

"We certainly hope we don't need to use these beds, or certainly not all of them," he said.

Baker also said Tuesday that his administration has started talking about reopening the state's economy, but there is much work to be done before a plan like that can be put into motion.

"Contact tracing and testing will be important," he said. "We think at the end of the day, testing, tracing, isolation, quarantine -- those are big parts of any legitimate effort to reopen."

Pharmacists are waiting for state guidance to begin coronavirus testing after getting federal authorization to do so last week.

The governor said he will work collaboratively with the six other states -- including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island -- that have formed a joint task force to look into when the reopening of the economy could begin.

"We're going to work collaboratively, but we're going to do in the end what's right for Massachusetts," he said. "Reversing course too soon, opening up before we're ready and have a plan in place to make sure we can monitor and measure will only make matters worse."

"Everyone's had to put up with an extraordinary amount of grief and in many cases loss," Baker added. "Taking the foot off the pedal would squander in many cases a lot of the progress we've made."

The War Memorial Recreational Center in Cambridge has become an emergency shelter for the homeless and for people who need a place to quarantine during the coronavirus crisis.

Massachusetts health officials reported 1,392 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday and 88 additional deaths as the total number of cases across the commonwealth topped 26,000.

The state has been bracing for an expected surge in coronavirus cases, with the increase still expected in the coming weeks. 

Baker said on Friday that data in recent days has suggested the peak may be closer to April 20 and is expected to be around 2,500 new coronavirus cases a day.

Existing hospital capacity can be seen on the state's website:

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