PITTSFIELD - After declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus on Tuesday, Governor Charlie Baker held a press conference in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on Thursday where he made a plea to the federal government to provide more tests to the state.
Gov. Baker's plea comes after speaking with health officials throughout the state who shared that they can only test individuals who meet certain criteria because the state does not have enough tests.
Currently, there are 108 cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts, as shared by CBS Local News. Of those 108 patients, six patients have officially been confirmed to have contracted the virus by the CDC while 102 patients have tested positive at the state level, and are being presumed positive.
While Governor Baker did share that additional test kits have been sent to the state which would allow hospitals and labs to test up to 5,000 people, the state still needs additional resources and help from the federal government in order to properly deal with the pandemic.
“We need much more testing capability and we need the federal government to help us get there,” Baker shared. “What that means is we’ve been asking the federal government to support more places, both private labs and hospital labs, to run these tests. And we need the FDA and the CDC to act on these requests.”
Gov. Baker and his administration plan to work on getting the additional tests and resources within the next couple of days.
“We need more testing capacity in Massachusetts,” Baker said. “Our primary objective over the course of the next few days is to get the feds to give the hospitals and the private labs the material they need to actually prove they can do this and then get authorized by the FDA so that we can significantly enhance our testing capacity.”
Gov. Baker also addressed the slew of recent school and college closings, and event cancellations throughout the state in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Baker also noted the financial consequences of the closings.
“We understand that asking people to change their habits, cancel events, cancel travel, change the way they work is inconvenient. And we understand it also comes with a financial impact,” Baker stated.
“But waiting to act, and allowing infections and the subsequent number of people who need medical attention to spike all at once will not only severely hamper a hospital’s ability to care for patients but will have a far greater economic impact in the future as well.”
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