SHNS Coronavirus Tracker (Tuesday PM Update)

The Latest on COVID-19

SHNS Staff4/14/20 6:14 PM

APRIL 14, 2020.....Total deaths in Massachusetts linked to the coronavirus pandemic approached 1,000 on Tuesday as Gov. Charlie Baker touted the opening of one field hospital and announced plans for two others.

Although overall confirmed cases for two days straight have increased at a lower rate than they have over the last week, public health officials cautioned against interpreting trends from daily totals and Baker said during a visit to the new Cape Cod facility that the state is "still on the upswing" of the outbreak. About half of hospital capacity is available, he said, with the peak expected to hit soon.

The state counted 113 additional deaths linked to the virus Tuesday, the first time the one-day total surpassed 100.

Of the 957 cumulative deaths in Massachusetts reported Tuesday, 444 — or about 46 percent — occurred among residents or staff at long-term care facilities, according to the state's data. Only about 14 percent of confirmed cases, or 3,907 of 28,163, involve patients or residents of those facilities.

The Massachusetts Senior Care Association pleaded with Baker and legislative leaders to direct additional resources to nursing homes, warning of worst-case scenario projections that could see thousands of residents die even with the significant steps already taken.

Massachusetts got a clearer sense Tuesday of the short- and medium-term economic impacts that will come as a result of the non-essential business and school closures prompted by the pandemic.

After technical difficulties stalled last week's initial attempt, state officials heard "sobering" forecasts from more than half a dozen experts and organizations. Some projections, which varied by group, indicated that the state unemployment rate could rise as high as 14.7 percent and that tax revenues could fall billions of dollars short of benchmark estimates.

Comparisons to the Great Depression or warnings of depression-level financial strain were made more than once over the course of the hearing. Despite that tone, however, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said the state's $3.5 billion rainy day savings account sets Massachusetts apart.

- Chris Lisinski