Governor Baker: No Forced COVID-19 Lockdown Order Planned in Massachusetts
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed to 413 on Friday, Governor Charlie Baker said for the third time this week he does not plan to issue a statewide lockdown order.
"I'd like to dispel, once again, recent rumors about a shelter-in-place order," Baker said at a 2 p.m. press briefing. "Massachusetts is not planning any forced shelter-in-place order. Everyone needs to get their news from legitimate sources."
Such stay-at-home orders were enacted this week in New York, California and Illinois. "I'm not going to do it just because somebody else did it," Baker added.
Massachusetts reported 85 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, and officials confirmed the first Massachusetts death related to the outbreak An 87-year-old Winthrop man with preexisting health conditions died, said Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Lou Sudders.
Baker said the state continues to work to increase its testing capability.
On Thursday, CVS in Shrewsbury opened the state's first large-scale drive-through testing center. It will serve emergency personnel and first responders on the front line of the pandemic. It's a partnership between CVS, state government, federal government, and local authorities, and is one of 40 such centers to open across the U.S., Baker said. The test kits from the federal government will be tested by Quest Diagnostics in Marlboro.
Baker also announced the formation of a supply hub for essential medical equipment in Massachusetts.
The virtual hub has been formed by public and private partners, including the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Baker said. Life science companies and other entities have been asked to donate lab supplies, personal protective equipment such as N-95 masks, and medical and scientific expertise.
The supply hub will supplement procurement efforts by state government, said Bob Coughlin, CEO and president of MassBio. He implored companies, dentists offices, colleges, universities and others to participate. Entities with supplies ato donate re asked to fill out a survey at the MassBio website.
"in just the first 24 hours nearly 200 companies have responded with supplies they have that they were willing to donate to fight this fight," Coughlin said.
The supply hub news comes one day after Baker made national headlines by telling President Donald Trump that the federal government had outbid Massachusetts in the state's effort to procure life-saving equipment. Trump had told the governors that procuring equipment to protect front line workers is a state, and not a federal responsibility.
Baker has been holding near-daily press briefings since declaring a state of emergency on March 10. On Thursday the governor authorized the deployment of up to 2,000 National Guard members in Massachusetts to support state agencies and local government with equipment, logistics, warehousing, staff support and other duties.
Baker added Friday that his administration would work to make sure that renters and homeowners do not lose their housing the crisis.