Governor Charlie Baker held a press conference on Tuesday to talk about the increases in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
He said that as of Monday, there were 1184 new cases in the state, and the seven day average positive test rate is about 2.35 percent. He said that about 588 people are currently in the hospital for COVID-related reasons, and there are 143 people in the ICU.
“Since Labor Day, cases have increased by over 300 percent,” Baker said, and hospitalizations have increased by nearly 200 percent.
He said that hospitals are prepared to create an additional 400 ICU beds, and the state is working on a plan to stand up field hospitals again if need be. Baker said that the state is working with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) on finding “suitable locations” for the field hospitals.
“Where and when these facilities are stood up will depend in part on available space and where the needs are,” he said, adding that more details about where the facilities are planned for will be announced later this week.
He said that everybody’s personal actions play a huge role in controlling the spread of the virus.
“COVID is merciless,” he said, adding that it “will continue to spread wherever it is given the opportunity. He asked residents to abide by the new stay at home advisory that was put into place last week, and to “observe the new gathering limits.” He also warned against hosting get togethers at private residences, and to get tested.
Hew said he does not want to have to revert back to the shutdowns that were implemented in the spring, so he said that it’s important that everyone follow the guidelines.
Baker also said that he hopes “that a new administration can help remove the partisanship from fighting this virus,” and that the news of the results of the Pfizer clinical trial for a vaccine is “welcome news…,” and “when the time comes, Massachusetts will be ready to distribute a vaccine.”
But, he continued, “until then, everybody needs to remember that we are still living with the virus for at least the next few months.”
Baker also addressed the election and expressed his disappointment with the Trump administration’s response to the results.
Baker said he was “dismayed” to “hear baseless claims” from President Trump and other elected officials who back him up.
He said that “I am aware of no legitimate claims of wrongdoing,” and said that throughout his 40 years, he has raised money and answered calls for many Republican candidates, but “this latest move to employ the Department of Justice in all of this is so wildly inappropriate and stalling an orderly transition process, especially at a time like this, is equally unacceptable. I can’t think of a worse time to stall a transition than amid a deadly pandemic that the federal government continues to own primary responsibility for responding to.”