BOSTON (CBS) — Gov. Charlie Baker said the state’s ability to test for coronavirus has grown over the past few days and will continue doing so. He reminded residents that as testing increases, so will the number of positive cases.
“We have made some significant progress this week. Over the past two days, the number of tests completed in a day in Massachusetts has nearly doubled from 520 on Wednesday to 962 yesterday. That represents about an 85 percent increase in the number of completed tests,” Baker said Saturday.
Testing capacity in state labs has also increased: the ability to conduct just under 700 tests on Wednesday has gone up to 1,144 on Friday — “an increase in capacity of almost 65 percent for a testing capacity over a 48-hour period,” Baker said.
He later added, “The issue here is to get testing to the point we talked about earlier in the week, where we are doing what we would think of as the same level of testing you see every single day in other countries where the combination of testing and chasing — testing, isolation, tracing — that’s where we need to get to. In most of those countries, the way they bend the curve, was they bent the curve by testing enough fast enough to be able to catch up to the growth in new cases and then doing the tracing work and isolating everybody. That’s where we have to get.”
The Waltham AFC Urgent Care location has become the state’s first private drive-through urgent care. The CVS in Shrewsbury is one of 40 CVS Pharmacies across the country that will also hold drive-through testing.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 525 cases of coronavirus in the state with over 5,207 people tested.
Baker also announced starting Monday, about 300 selected daycare sites will reopen as emergency drop-in childcare services. “We know that child care is an especially critical piece of emergency service and that allows our front-line workers to continue their battle against COVID-19 and to continue their work.”
He said the “childcare is meant to be for those who must report to work,” such as first responders and grocery store workers.
When asked about the possibility of a shelter in place, Baker echoed his statements from the past few days that Massachusetts would not be doing so in an effort to follow other states. “What we said all along is that we will make decisions based on data and guidance that we get from public health experts, from state and federal authorities and based on the facts as we understand them on the ground here in the Commonwealth.”
He also said, “Just to be clear you can still in all those other places that have issued orders like that go to the grocery store, you can still go to the pharmacy, you can still go for a walk. In none of those places is the fundamental position of government, state or local, that people should spend all of their time inside.”