Governor Baker said today he expects the surge of COVID-19 patients to hit Massachusetts hospitals between April 7 and 17, giving the state just a week or two to prepare hospitals and the medical community.
Baker says the state is in the process of purchasing protective equipment for first responders and medical workers, recruiting retired medical professionals to help, and planning to convert facilities like nursing homes into care centers for COVID-19 to free up hospital beds.
"The mere fact that we're asking for and anticipating that we need a thousand ventilators, and we're looking to put a thousand COVID-19 nursing home beds in place, would imply that we think it's going to be a pretty big deal," Baker said.
Baker said he's also looking at further restrictions on travel and gatherings and will make an announcement about extending nonessential business closures.
Stay-home likely to be extended
Baker is expected to extend his emergency stay-home order for nonessential businesses tomorrow.
Baker said the federal government related new guidance about what businesses should remain open, and the state may alter its list of essential occupations.
"We are taking a good look at the second set of essential business guidance that we got from the federal government over the weekend and are also taking a look at extending the existing essential work only order," Baker said.
The work ban is set to expire on April 7, which is the first day public health experts project the biggest wave of virus patients will begin to enter the state's hospitals.
More venitlators expected from feds.
Baker said he expects one thousand ventilators to be shipped to Massachusetts ahead of the surge of COVID-19 patients soon to hit the state's health care systems.
Baker said the state's orders for ventilators and protective gear are big positive steps the federal government is making in allowing supplies to come to the state during the crisis.
"If we get the thousand ventilators that the feds have basically committed to delivering, that will make a big difference for many of the folks in our hospital community," Baker said.