Coronavirus Updates For Western New England: 5 Deaths In Mass., 8 In Conn.
Updated Monday, March 23, 9:10 a.m.
Five Massachusetts residents have died as a result of contracting COVID-19, including the first deaths in western Mass., the state Department of Public Health announced Sunday — just a day after the second death in the state attributable to the coronavirus-caused illness was announced.
Massachusetts officials say three men have died from COVID-19, two in their 70s from Hampden and Berkshire counties, and a third man in his 90s from Suffolk County. All three men were hospitalized, according to the state, and the Berkshire County man was said to have an underlying health condition.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts increased another 121 over Saturday — the fourth straight day with the largest daily increase since the outbreak started — bringing the total to 646.
As the number of confirmed cases continues to grow at an expanding rate, Governor Charlie Baker on Sunday tried to put the numbers into a larger context, stressing that the higher figures are in part a result of increased testing in Massachusetts.
Baker on Sunday said testing also increased 50% each of the previous two days.
"The reason that number [of cases of COVID-19] is going to climb is because we're testing more," he said. "That's not necessarily a bad thing. And by the way, people are recovering at the same time that new people are coming on."
On Sunday night, Connecticut’s reported cases had increased to 327 — up from 223 the day before — with eight deaths attributed to the virus.
Maine reports 89 cases, 19 more than state officials announced Saturday. Vermont saw an increase Sunday from 49 to 52. At 78 cases, New Hampshire saw an increase from 65 cases the day before. And Rhode Island reported 17 new positive tests Sunday, adding up to 83 cases.
Those numbers include "presumptive positive cases" identified by state and private labs, as well as cases confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NEPR’s Heather Brandon contributed to this report, which includes information from State House News Service.