Mass. DPH announces 76 new COVID-19 deaths, 873 additional positive cases in state

For the third day in a row, the state’s Department of Public Health announced that the latest daily total of COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts is fewer than 100 people. After totals of 92 deaths on Sunday and 65 new deaths on Monday, Mass. DPH reported on Tuesday that there are 76 new deaths from the coronavirus in the Commonwealth.

That pushes the death toll in the state from the virus to 5,938 people.

Additionally, Mass. DPH also announced that there are 873 new cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 87,925.

The state is also reporting that 7,741 additional COVID-19 tests have been administered in Massachusetts, vaulting the total number of tests performed in the Commonwealth to 476,940.

Mayor Marty Walsh gave updates on coronavirus

Boston Mayor Walsh said that overall health data shows that we’re “moving in the right direction” in Massachusetts.

But, he emphasized the importance of continuing to practice social distancing, hand washing, covering our faces and disinfecting surfaces as much as possible.

He said that reopening Boston doesn’t mean we’ll get back to our former normal, but rather bringing caution to stopping the spread and meeting the needs of families, seniors and small businesses.

Regarding office spaces reopening in the city, he said businesses will reopen on June 1 with a capacity of 25%. He said guidelines will be shared next week on how employers can keep workers safe and their businesses up and running.

Although, he said if employers don’t feel comfortable reopening on June 1, they don’t have to.

Walsh: “If businesses don’t feel comfortable to open, we’ll back you. A date doesn’t mean you have to open”

— Chris Flanagan (@ChrisFlanaganTV) May 19, 2020

“We will not take steps that put anyone at undo risk,” Walsh said.

He closed his remarks by wanting to recognize the 46th annual National EMS Week.

“This year they deserve a special thank you,” Walsh said, saying they’ve distinguished themselves by their skills, passion and courage working on the front lines of the coronavirus.

“How lucky we are to have them as members and heroes,” Walsh said.

65 new COVID-19 deaths announced by Mass. DPH, number of COVID-19 cases tops 87,000

The state’s Department of Public Health announced on Monday afternoon that 65 more people have died from COVID-19 in Massachusetts since their last update on Sunday. That pushes the death toll in the state to 5,862 people.

Mass. DPH also announced that an additional 1,042 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state, raising the total number of confirmed cases in Massachusetts to 87,052.

The total number of coronavirus tests administered in Massachusetts has reached 469,199 after Mass. DPH reported that 8,373 new tests have been performed.

Gov. Charlie Baker explains his Phase 1 plan to reopen Massachusetts

“We cannot move forward unless we commit to slowing the spread,” Baker said.

“The toll this virus takes and continues to take on many of us is staggering, but the response, the fight the millions of people who do what they have to do to push back has been brave and bigger,” he said.

Baker said all four phases to reopen will last approximately three weeks, but could last longer depending on what the health data reveals.

In Phase 1, Baker said all businesses must meet self-certification requirements to reopen.

Essential businesses can continue to stay open and operate, meeting safety standards and self-certifying by May 25.

Industry re-opening protocols will be self-regulated. There is no official sign off. Each business will be responsible for meeting the regulations. Local and state health officials will monitor like they monitor other protocols.

— Robert Goulston (@rgoulston) May 18, 2020

Today, religious organizations can open under guidelines, with outdoor services encouraged.

Also beginning today, manufacturing and construction can begin to reopen. Hospitals and community health centers who “attest to meeting specific capacity criteria and public health/safety standards” will be allowed to resume a limited set of in-person, preventative, diagnostic and treatment services.

On May 25, a variety of businesses will be allowed to start reopening, including lab and office spaces, hair salons, pet grooming, car washes, retail and outdoor recreation areas. On June 1, office spaces in Boston will reopen.

Via @rgoulston

On May 25 – can open
with guidelines:
• Beaches

• Parks

• Drive-in theaters

• Some athletic fields
and courts

• Many outdoor
adventure activities

• Most fishing, hunting,
and boating

• Outdoor gardens,
zoos, reserves and
public installations pic.twitter.com/CX3Wmm0Xic

— Peter Wilson (@PetesWire) May 18, 2020

Baker also changed the state’s stay-at-home advisory to a safer-at-home advisory, encouraging people to stay at home as much as possible.

“If we don’t keep up the fight…we run the risk of creating a second spike in the fall,” Baker said. “Thankfully millions and millions of people have answered the call and played their part.”

Restaurants will not offer dine-in service UNTIL phase 2, which has not been scheduled yet. The plan is to allow inside and outside dining with specific capacity restrictions that are still being tweaked.

— Robert Goulston (@rgoulston) May 18, 2020

Arts (museums) and entertainment, gyms will be in phase 3. Again there is no timeline for when that specifically begins.

— Robert Goulston (@rgoulston) May 18, 2020

Dr. Jon Santiago says he’s seeing headway, but warns of reopening too quickly

Dr. Santiago, an emergency room doctor at Boston Medical Center, joined Gene this morning to talk about what he’s seeing regarding coronavirus at his hospital.

Santiago worked this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday and said “we’re making some headway” at BMC.

“What’s happening at BMC is consistent with what’s happening across the Commonwealth,” Santiago said.

He’s seen a “significant decrease” in the number of patients with coronavirus at BMC. During the peak of the virus, BMC had somewhere between 200 and 230 patients, he said. Last he checked a few days ago, there were around 60 patients in the whole hospital.

He said volume in the ER has picked up steeply for patients coming in for trauma and every day accidents — it’s the busiest it has been in the past couple of months.

Gov. Charlie Baker is holding a news conference at 11 a.m. today, expecting to detail what Phase 1 of reopening Massachusetts looks like. Santiago said that while he thinks the state has done a good job of social distancing, testing is still important. He said there could be a surge if Massachusetts reopens too early.

“We’re doing that [testing] because we don’t have a vaccine right now,” Santiago said, adding that the state will have to increase testing significantly.

“Just over the past couple days, what we’ve seen, anywhere from 10, 11, 12, 13,000 tests, but what the Governor has proposed, by June, July is to have upwards of 45,000 tests a day.

“It’s estimated that about 70% of people have not been infected by the virus. So if we open up the economy, everyone’s out at restaurants, you’re dining at bars, and not really taking care of staying six feet away from people, not having a mask, we can see another surge.”

“We had during the peak, somewhere between 200 and 230 patients and now, last I checked a couple days ago, we were down to 60 patients in the whole hospital,” said Dr. Jon Santiago, an ER doctor at Boston Medical Center.

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