A Suffolk County man in his 80s has died of COVID-19, the Department of Public Health announced Friday afternoon, the first death reported in Massachusetts during the global coronavirus pandemic.
DPH said the man "had been hospitalized and had pre-existing health conditions that put him at higher risk for COVID-19." It was not immediately clear when the man, who was not identified beyond age range and county of residence, died.
"I extend my heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends who lost their loved one," Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. "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."
In making the announcement, DPH said that "COVID-19 activity is increasing in Massachusetts" and advised anyone who is "only mildly symptomatic" to stay home and contact a doctor to determine if they need to be assessed in person if symptoms worsen.
As of Thursday, the state had identified 328 positive cases of the coronavirus-caused COVID-19.
On Friday, DPH said that "3,132 residents of Massachusetts have been tested for COVID-19 by the State Public Health Laboratory and commercial labs." By next week, Baker and state officials have said, Massachusetts needs to be conducting 3,500 tests each and every day to get the full picture of the pandemic's effects locally and to try to stay ahead of its spread.