BOSTON (CBS) — An 87-year-old man in became the first person in Massachusetts to die from a coronavirus-related illness, the Department of Public Health confirmed Friday. The Winthrop man was hospitalized and had underlying health issues that put him at a higher risk for COVID-19.
“You’ll hear from the media and the state and federal government that the victim was a 87-year-old man with underlying health conditions,” said Winthrop Town Manager Austin Faison. “The latter is as irrelevant to us as community leaders as it is to the family of our departed resident. The fact is that this terrible virus has taken a life in our community, and that loss of life gives each of us pause and fills us with sorrow.”
Winthrop Police Chief Terence Delehanty said they believe the victim caught the coronavirus through community spread. He said the man was a veteran and died in the hospital.
Faison said the town has one other resident who has tested positive for the virus. He said they are at home and that they continue to recover.
“Obviously it’s heartbreaking to say but this is certainly a day that I think we all knew would come. We read and hear about the accounts from elsewhere in the world and across this country about the loss of life that this disease is responsible for but when it happens here in the Commonwealth it’s obviously different,” said Gov. Charlie Baker at a press conference.
“Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are vulnerable and it’s incumbent upon all of us to do what we can every day to support them and others who have been diagnosed and are sick with COVID-19, ” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 413 coronavirus cases in Massachusetts. Forty-three of those patients have been hospitalized.