BOSTON (CBS) – Gov. Charlie Baker urged the federal government to provide more coronavirus resources so Massachusetts can increase the number of people it can test.
There are 108 total cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts as of Thursday. Six have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control while 102 people tested positive at the state level.
Of those cases, 82 are connected to the Biogen employee conference at the end of February at the Marriott Long Wharf in Boston.
Baker made the comments after a meeting with health officials in Pittsfield.
“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.”
Baker said on Thursday that Massachusetts received an additional number of kits that will allow for hospitals and labs to test 5,000 people. Prior to that, the state was only able to test several thousand people, Baker said.
“We need much more testing capability and we need the federal government to help us get there,” said Baker. “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.”
Baker declared a State of Emergency on Tuesday. During his press conference on Thursday, Baker reinforced that it is critical to act now to slow the spread of coronavirus.
“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 said. “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.”