Massachusetts coronavirus March 26 update

Massachusetts

BOSTON (SHNS) – Massachusetts reported 10 new deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday in addition to 579 new cases of the disease, bringing the state’s total case count to 2,417 and its death tally to 25. Thursday was day 17 of Massachusetts’ state of emergency.

The Department of Public Health reported that an additional 3,827 people had been tested for the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, clearing the 3,500-test-per-day threshold that Gov. Charlie Baker had set as a minimum for testing in the state. In total, 23,621 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Massachusetts.

The 579 new cases announced Thursday marked the second time in the last two weeks that the state announced fewer new cases than it had the previous day, but it is still by far the second-largest single day increase in the number of new cases. The state reported 679 new cases on Wednesday.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday afternoon that the state-owned Newton Pavilion will be re-opened to provide medical care for up to 250 individuals in and around the city without permanent residences. The administration also waived nurse-to-patient staffing ratios at hospitals and set up a hotline to connect individuals with disabilities with home health care aides when their personal care attendants are unable to work during the public health emergency.

The Massachusetts Senate held a joint caucus — Democrats and Republicans alike — via conference call Thursday, shortly before passing a bill to expand the scope of practice for nurses during the coronavirus pandemic. And Senate President Karen Spilka said she expects state budget managers to convene a virtual gathering of economic experts to help inform their next steps in crafting a budget as the pandemic wreaks havoc on state tax collections.

The governor’s daily schedule for Friday was not available late Thursday afternoon, but a daily coronavirus press conference has become the norm. DPH will issue updated figures on COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and testing by 4 p.m. Friday.

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