BOSTON, MA — A Suffolk County man in his 80s has died from complications related to the new coronavirus, according to state health officials Friday. The Department of Public Health said the man had an underlying health condition, which made him more at risk.
The death is the first related to the global pandemic in the commonwealth. It comes a day after the number of known coronavirus cases rose above 300 and Gov. Charlie Baker activated the National Guard to help Massachusetts handle the growing crisis.
“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,” said Baker.
The state’s Public Department of Health on Thursday announced 328 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 72 from Wednesday’s numbers. Forty-three of those cases so far have required hospitalization. As of Friday morning, 3,132 residents of Massachusetts have been tested for COVID-19 by the State Public Health Laboratory and commercial labs.
The increase in cases comes as testing becomes more available. Officials have long expected a drastic increase in cases as more tests become available and testing expands.
There have been more than 10,400 cases of COVID-19 and more than 150 deaths across the country, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Massachusetts and nationwide, health and government officials are asking everyone – showing symptoms or not – to avoid crowds, stay 6 feet away from others, not shake hands or hug, and call and online chat with friends and loved ones rather than meet face to face.
Baker has also acknowledged that could change. He’s expected to update the public Friday.