Massachusetts National Guard soldiers from the 181st Engineer Company, left, wear masks out of concern for the coronavirus as they distribute boxes of food, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, to people also wearing masks in Chelsea, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is continuing to see coronavirus numbers heading in the right direction, Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday.

One good sign is that even as the state increases the number of tests it's conducting, the percentage of those testing positive for the virus is decreasing, Baker said.

The state has also seen a downward trend in the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the Republican added.

But Baker said the state needs to see those numbers decline more before it can begin to reopen the economy. A 17-member commission is planning to release a proposal May 18 about how to begin safely to reopen.

Massachusetts has recorded the fourth most COVID-19 deaths of any state.

A statewide order signed by Baker mandating the use of masks or facial coverings while in public when social distancing isn't possible goes into effect Wednesday.

Baker made his comments at Merrow Manufacturing in Fall River, which has converted its facility to produce personal protective equipment.

More developments in Massachusetts:



The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts topped 70,000 on Tuesday.

There were 122 newly confirmed COVID-19-related deaths, bringing to 4,212 the total number of deaths recorded in Massachusetts since the pandemic's start.

On Tuesday, nearly 1,200 new cases were added to the state’s COVID-19 total.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units now stands at 914, down from more than 1,000 a week ago, while the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is more than 3,500 — down from nearly 3,900 a week ago.

The number of deaths at long-term care facilities now stands at 2,520 — or nearly 60% of all COVID-19-related deaths.



State revenues crashed in April, a dramatic consequence of the decision to temporarily shutter the Massachusetts economy.

April tax collections plummeted to just $1.98 billion, according to the state Department of Revenue. That’s about 52% less than official predictions for the month -- or 54% less than actual collections in April of last year.

There were several factors, including the decision to push back the April tax filing deadline until July and what Revenue Commissioner Geoffrey Snyder called the "impact that necessary COVID-19 precautions have on economic activity.”



A second Walmart store in Massachusetts temporarily closed after an employee died of COVID-19 and several others tested positive for the coronavirus that causes the disease.

The Walmart in Quincy closed Monday, Mayor Thomas Koch said on the city's YouTube page. Nine workers, including the woman who died, tested positive, he said.

“There are no words to express the loss of our associate,” Walmart said in a statement.

The store will undergo a cleaning, and all employees will be tested, Quincy Health Commissioner Ruth Jones said.

Walmart said employee temperature checks will continue at the Quincy store once it reopens. Employees will also be provided with face masks and gloves.

A Worcester Walmart was shut down last week after dozens of employees tested positive. That store is expected to reopen this week.



More than 50 residents of a Medford nursing home have died of COVID-19 in the past four weeks, and another 100 have been infected, officials say.

Genesis Healthcare, which operates the the Courtyard Nursing Care Center, confirmed to The Boston Globe that 54 residents with COVID-19 had died since April 5. An additional 117 residents and 42 employees have tested positive for the virus, according to a statement from Dr. Richard Feifer, chief medical officer for Genesis.

The facility has 224 beds.

Feifer said that the home cares for “largely frail, elderly seniors with multiple health conditions" and that many have dementia. The average age of the residents who died was over 85.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, but it can cause more severe illness for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.



Massachusetts House lawmakers have struck a deal to allow them to debate and vote remotely.

Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo said in a written statement that the temporary order “strikes a careful balance of safety, security and equitable access.”

The first virtual session is planned for Wednesday to debate a borrowing bill filed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.



Members of the all-Democratic Massachusetts congressional delegation are welcoming a decision to include East Coast seafood in purchasing agreements funded in part by the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren and Reps. William Keating and Seth Moulton had pressed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to include domestic seafood in the program.

The Agricultural Marketing Service announced yesterday it will purchase $20 million in Atlantic haddock, pollock, and redfish according to the lawmakers.



Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says that despite the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, he is not considering laying off or furloughing city employees.

The city was in a strong financial position before the pandemic struck, he said.