Massachusetts reports 1st COVID-19 death; Baker stands firm in not issuing shelter-in-place

Massachusetts

BOSTON (WPRI) ─ A Suffolk County man with pre-existing medical conditions died Thursday after contracting the novel coronavirus, becoming the first Massachusetts resident to die during the ongoing pandemic, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).

The resident, a man in his 80s, had previously been hospitalized and had health conditions that made him more susceptible to the virus.

“I extend my heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends who lost their loved one,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “We are living in uncertain and challenging times, and our administration is bringing every available resource to bear in the fight against this disease, and remind everyone in our Commonwealth to continue to work together, follow social distance protocols and look after each other to keep our communities safe.”

To date, the state laboratory has tested 3,132 residents for COVID-19, the health department said. Of those residents, 413 have tested positive for the virus.

Baker said Friday the state opened its first large-scale drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at the CVS in Shrewsbury.

He also said he stands firm and will not issue a shelter-in-place, adding “I’m not going to do it because somebody else did,” in reference to New York and California’s recent statewide lockdowns.

“We don’t want people to feel like they can’t go outside – like they’re housebound,” Baker said.

Despite this, he said everyone needs to continue practicing social distancing to prevent further community spread of the virus.

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