Citing state models, Gov. Charlie Baker estimates the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts will range from 47,000 to 172,000 during the course of pandemic — 0.7 to 2.5 percent of the total population.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Baker said Massachusetts is expected to reach its peak hospitalizations between April 10 and April 20. The model also indicates the need for expanded ICU bed capacity by about 500 beds and Baker discussed possible locations for makeshift hospitals, including Joint Base Cape Cod.
Numbers come from a model based on data from Wuhan, China where the virus originated. But Baker said there are some key differences between Wuhan and Massachusetts such as lower population density, social distancing measures that were enacted sooner, and a lower smoking rate.
“We know all models are not perfect, but obviously you need to plan for the worst and at the end of the day hope you do not need to go that far,” the governor said.
On Thursday, the Department of Public Health (DPH) released its daily count of confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19, showing 1,228 new cases in Massachusetts for a total confirmed case count of 8,966. Thirty-two new deaths brought the state total to 154. More than 56,000 people in the state have been tested.
In a first, the number of confirmed cases in Dukes and Nantucket counties have been separated. Previously, the two counties were put in the same column. The DPH count shows only five confirmed cases in Dukes County, showing a lag behind local reports of confirmed cases.
Baker also thanked the Kraft family for using their New England Patriots jet to pick up a shipment of one million N95 masks for healthcare workers, emergency personnel, and first responders. Most of the masks are expected to arrive tonight with more on their way.
The massive shipment of N95 masks was designated as a humanitarian aid mission with the help of the Governor, the Kraft family, the governor of Alaska — where the plane stopped briefly, China’s ambassador out of New York, and the Chinese company Tencent.
“The next three or four weeks are going to be very difficult ones,” Baker said.
The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital continues to test patients with symptoms. As of Thursday at noon, the hospital has collected 117 test samples. There have been 91 negative test results and 18 pending. Eight tests have come back positive. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Island are at nine following a symptomatic diagnosis on Tuesday.