Updated at 2:32 p.m.
Cautioning of tough days ahead, state officials said Tuesday they are pursuing ways to ramp up capacity for coronavirus testing in Massachusetts and outlined other new initiatives to address ramifications of the pandemic.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced new emergency orders he said will "cut red tape so hospitals can staff up faster," adjust minimum standards for ambulance staffing to maintain EMS availability, and facilitate telehealth services across state lines to help keep people out of hospitals in non-emergency situations.
Also, the state is distributing $5 million in emergency funds to local boards of health, Baker said.
Baker said he is also formally requesting that the Small Business Administration issue a declaration of economic injury for Massachusetts in order to make low-interest loans available to small business owners affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. That move follows the governor's announcement Monday of a new $10 million recovery loan fund for small businesses.
At an afternoon press conference, Baker opened his remarks by reiterating that he is not planning to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order. He stressed the need to obtain information from reliable sources and urged grocery shoppers to "use common sense and moderation and avoid hoarding large quantities."
More to come.