The state’s four medical schools are coordinating with the Baker administration to graduate students early in advance of an expected surge in coronavirus patients.

University officials said Thursday that they are working to push graduation of their fourth-year medical students to April to meet the needs of a growing number of sick residents.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders first announced details of the effort during a press conference Thursday. The plan includes Harvard, Tufts and Boston universities and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.

Karen Antman, dean of the Boston University School of Medicine, said in aletter to students that the state is creating a “special, expedited licensure process” and that a virtual graduation date at BU is slated for April 17. As of 4 p.m. Thursday, the state said there were 2,417 positive coronavirus cases and 25 deaths.

“Your class is clearly graduating at one of the most medically challenging times of the last century, and will shortly be an important part of our country’s response to the COVID-19 challenge,’’ she said. “We are proud of the physicians that you will soon be, and for the role that you will play in the care of your patients.”

Harvard officials said they are “actively exploring the option of early graduation.” Peter Bates, interim dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine, said the “important step allows our students to begin putting their medical degrees to use and ease the stress on the health care system.”

Chancellor Michael Collins of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester said the voluntary process could add more than 700 new physicians to the system.

“Hospitals are near the brink of being overwhelmed as ever-increasing numbers of patients seek care, while increasing numbers of clinical staff find themselves in self-quarantine after being exposed to the virus,” he said in a statement on the university website. “We have no doubt our medical students are up to the task.”