100 Ventilators Arrive in Mass., ‘Significant Progress' on Testing Capacity, Baker Says

The state reported 24 new deaths on Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 216

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Gov. Charlie Baker on Sunday said 100 ventilators had arrived in Massachusetts from the national stockpile amid the coronavirus crisis.

In a news conference from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro -- where he toured a drive through testing site for first responders -- Baker said Sunday afternoon he expected the ventilators to be distributed to in the next 24 hours to health care facilities.

Fifteen residents at a nursing home in Norwood, Massachusetts, have died, with about half of them testing positive for coronavirus.

The governor added that he expected the federal government to send additional ventilators on an "incremental" basis.

Baker also reported the state has seen "significant progress" in the state's testing ability, saying some 3,500 tests were being conducted per day, exceeding goals set by the state.

The appearance comes as health officials on Sunday reported 15 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 231.

Baker praised the Patriots organization, local and federal authorities, as well as private medical companies, for the site, which will provide free COVID-19 tests for first responders including police officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers.

Those first responders must have appointments to be tested, Baker said.

Health officials also announced 764 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, meaning the number of Bay State residents who have tested positive for the virus so far is 12,500.

The majority of those infected are in Middlesex, Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Worcester and Plymouth counties.

To date, there are 551 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities across the state, according to the DPH. Health officials say 102 long-term care facilities have reported at least one case of the virus.

More than 1,100 Massachusetts residents have been hospitalized since the outbreak's start. For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, pneumonia, or death.

As of Sunday nearly 72,000 people have been tested for the virus, with 3,137 new tests conducted since yesterday.

Experts warn the worst is still to come, however. The latest models show the state could see up to 172,000 coronavirus cases when the surge hits sometime between April 10 and April 20.

On Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new contact tracing program that he said will help limit the further spread of the coronavirus across the commonwealth. The program will focus on alerting individuals who may have come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 so they can self-quarantine or be tested themselves.

Baker said Massachusetts will be the first state to launch this type of initiative. Nearly 1,000 workers will be deployed to connect with COVID-19 patients and their contacts. Announcing the new initiative, Baker said it was time to start going on offense against the disease.

NBC10 Boston and the Associated Press
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