BOSTON (WGGB/WSHM/AP) -- Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday submitted a request to the federal government for a major disaster declaration for Massachusetts.
If approved, the declaration would provide Massachusetts with additional assistance beyond what was included in an emergency declaration issued by President Donald Trump on March 13, the Republican governor said.
The request would make financial assistance available to cities and towns, state agencies, and some nonprofits.
Baker also announced Thursday afternoon that 20,000 people have been tested up to yesterday in the state for COVID-19 as more cases are announced in western Massachusetts as well.
Testing has multiplied eight times since last week at this time when the number of tests was 2,600.
Baker said today he still plans to expand testing as we continue to learn about more cases here in the Pioneer Valley.
In Hampshire County, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz tested positive for COVID-19. The mayor was experiencing flu-like symptoms Monday and on Tuesday, those symptoms began to worsen.
Narkewicz is now in isolation at his home and is working remotely.
Easthampton announced Thursday that they have their fourth positive case of coronavirus in the city. Those patients are in isolation and are being checked in on twice a day by a public health nurse.
In Hampden County, a staff member at a child care facility in East Longmeadow has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Arbors Kids announced the staffer is not a classroom teacher, but has been on site within the last 14 days. The center is urging families to stop using the facility.
In West Springfield, the town's health department confirmed that two residents have been confirmed to have contracted the virus.
In Westfield, the city has now confirmed 24 cases in that community.
“We continue to make progress with our testing apparatus, which is a critical part of identifying and stopping the virus. Yesterday we reported more than 20,000 people have been tested and we expect numbers to increase every single day,” Baker noted.
Baker also announced that a state-owned facility in Boston is being opened to care for homeless individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
He said the facility, which will also be used to help care for those of them who test positive for the disease, will be operated by a consortium of providers including Boston Medical Center and the Pine Street Inn.