Massachusetts officials confirmed on Sunday three more coronavirus related deaths, bringing the state’s total to five.
All three of the casualties were men over the age of 70 who had been hospitalized, according to a statement. One man, who was in his 90s, was from Suffolk county. The other two were from Hampden and Berkshire counties.
The announcement came the day after officials said a woman with a pre-existing condition in her 50s from Middlesex County had died. The first person to die from the coronavirus outbreak was a man in his 80s who also had a pre-existing condition that made him more susceptible to the disease.
The number of COVID-19 cases are expected to rise both in Massachusetts and across the country as the disease spreads and more tests become available. At a press conference Saturday, Gov. Charlie Baker said on Thursday his goal is to ramp up to 3,500 tests a day.
As of Sunday, a handful more than 6,000 Massachusetts residents have been tested for COVID-19, with 646 testing positive. Across the United States, there are more than 15,000 cases resulting in more than 200 deaths so far.
To blunt the exponential rise of coronavirus infections, the Baker administration has taken steps — including closing the public schools and prohibiting restaurants from allowing patrons to dine in — to keep people from coming in close contact. But the governor has stopped short of ordering all residents to shelter-in-place.
State officials are also grappling with a lack of medical supplies as the number of patients seeking treatment continues to rise across the Commonwealth. Doctors, nurses and other frontline clinicians have taken to social media to alert the general public that they do not have enough masks, gowns and other protective equipment. Massachusetts has asked the federal government to send more from the national strategic stockpile, but has only received a fraction of its request.