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Massachusetts seeking healthcare volunteers, protective equipment; 8 more deaths reported


BOSTON (WPRI) — Over the weekend, Massachusetts officials launched new efforts to bolster the state’s healthcare capacity and support its hospitals, and according to Gov. Charlie Baker, hundreds of individuals and organizations have already come forward to help.

“These have been unprecedented and difficult times. The people of the Commonwealth continue to respond with tremendous strength and generosity,” Baker said during his daily briefing Monday afternoon.

More than 1,800 people have registered as healthcare volunteers through the state’s online portal, Baker said, noting that the immediate need is for respiratory therapists and public health nurses.

The webpage says volunteers will only be contacted if and when a need is identified, and they must provide their own transportation. Anyone who’s had contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 is kindly asked not to volunteer.

Learn more and sign up to volunteer »

Baker said despite the need for healthcare personnel, the state has been able to exceed its goal of testing 3,500 people per day, having conducted more than 40,000 tests to date.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, 5,752 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 56 people have died — an increase of 797 cases and eight deaths since Sunday. The Mass. Department of Public Health said the new deaths were two men in their 60s and six women in their 60s, 70s and 80s from Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk Counties. All were hospitalized and five had known preexisting conditions.

“To all the doctors, nurses and folks who keep our hospitals running: your compassion, your bravery, and your commitment to your fellow Commonwealth residents is unbelievable and outstanding and we are all enormously grateful,” Baker added Monday.

In order to make sure those healthcare workers and first responders are well-protected, the state set up an online portal where people can donate or sell personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves. Hundreds of individuals and businesses have reached out so far, according to Baker.

Baker also announced the state has received a shipment of protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile and the federal government has approved his request for at least 1,000 ventilators, which he said are expected to arrive soon.

Last week, the state partnered with Buoy Health to provide a free online tool where residents can receive medical guidance during the crisis.

Assess your risk for COVID-19 »

Nearly 20,000 residents have used the tool so far, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.

For more information on COVID-19 in Massachusetts, visit the state’s website, call 211 or text COVIDMA to 888-777 to subscribe to the text message notification system.

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