Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that despite "uncertain and unsettling times," Massachusetts is not planning a forced shelter in place as a means to blunt the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
"Obviously, it's heartbreaking, to say the least, but this is certainly a day that we all knew would come," the governor said, referring to Massachusetts' first COVID-19 related death, a man in his 80s from Suffolk County. "I know that these are uncertain and unsettling times for everyone, and I know we are asking a great deal of the people of Massachusetts."
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
He said there are still no plans for a shelter in place similar to the ones other states have imposed.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also kept the same line he's been repeating for days when asked about other cities' coronavirus-prompted lockdowns.
"We have not done that yet here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," Walsh said, adding, "it's within our own grasp to stop the spread of this virus. We do it by social distancing.
Both Baker and Walsh urged residents to continue to obey the restrictions put in place regarding social distancing.
"We need to remember that we're all in this together," Baker said, "and we ask everyone to take responsibility and do their part to stop the spread of this horribly contagious virus. If we do, then we can get through it.
"While we're still at the beginning stages of this battle, we have much more to do."
The governor added that coronavirus testing in Massachusetts continues to expand, including the launch of a drive-thru testing site at a CVS in Shrewsbury. Over 3,000 residents have now been tested for COVID-19 by the state's public health lab and commercial labs. That number is expected to increase to a minimum of 3,500 tests a day by next week.
"I think the most important thing we need to do is test -- test a lot," he said.
Also on the leaders' minds was the medical equipment that health care workers need to stay safe as they treat people with the new coronavirus.
The need for more equipment was underscored Friday night when Tufts Medical Center announced that 10 of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. None have been hospitalized themselves.
Meanwhile, nine employees at Brigham and Women's Hospital have tested positive, with the hospital saying it's conserving protective equipment.
At both Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center, several employees tested positive, but neither hospital gave a specific number.
"We're looking for masks and we're looking for respirators," Walsh said, aiming his requests to companies that work on business sites, like asbestos-abatement material.
The mayor is asking these companies to share.
"Most important is to make sure we get it in the hands of our medical professionals who are saving lives here," he said.
Additionally, Walsh is asking everyone to keep away from others, giving a specific message to landlords, realtors and rental brokers.
"Do not do in-person showings," he said. "Especially with units currently occupied."
Baker praised the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council and the state's life science companies for stepping forward to provide additional supplies and equipment to health care institutions.
He also reassured renters and homeowners that the state will be taking action in the coming days to ensure that they are protected and don't lose their homes due to financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Overall in Massachusetts, there are now 413 cases of COVID-19.
Massachusetts is one of the states in the U.S. with the most coronavirus cases in the country so far. More than 200 people have died nationwide, including seven in New England.
Severe restrictions to daily life have been ordered in Massachusetts, including school cancellations, restaurant closures and limits to gathering in groups, as the state fights to mitigate the spread of the deadly pandemic.
Over 2,000 Massachusetts residents have been quarantined due to coronavirus, health officials said earlier this week.