SPRINGFIELD – The number of people who have been confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus at Baystate Health is climbing.
As of Sunday, medical personnel have tested 600 people for COVID-19 and have received positive results for 39. Another 271 people tested negative for the virus and the medical center is awaiting results for the remaining 290 people who were tested, Baystate officials said.
On Saturday the Springfield-based health provider reported having tested 484 people, with 22 positive cases returned and 228 people found to be negative.
Baystate Health is not providing additional details on patients, such age, gender or residence.
As part of Baystate Medical Center’s effort to keep up with demands created by the pandemic, a rapid response triage is being constructed outside its Emergency Department. It is expected to be completed Monday.
As of Saturday, more than 5,200 residents of Massachusetts have been tested for COVID-19 and about 10 percent of them, 525 people, have tested positive.
Two people in the state have died from the virus. An 87-year-old Winthrop man who had underlying health conditions died on Friday and a woman in her 50s from Ayer, who also had medical problems, died on Saturday, officials said.
Two people in Hampden, one in Ludlow and one in Ashfield have also tested positive for COVID-19, officials in those towns have reported.
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Baystate Health officials said in a video released on Sunday said testing abilities remain limited. The medical center does not have the capability to test patients and is working with the state Department of Public Health to have people tested.
“People with minor cases, we don’t have test kits for them,” Dr. Sarah D. Haessler, hospital epidemiologist, said in the video.
In the video, Haessler, Dr. Andrew Artenstein, chief physician executive, and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack said old-fashioned handwashing and using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, following basic hygiene practices such as coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow or into a tissue will help prevent the disease, which is spread through droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. People can also pick it up on surfaces where droplets have fallen. People are also urged to remain at least six feet away from others.
There are multiple types of coronaviruses, but COVID-19 is new and came from an animal, Haessler said.
“None of us have immunity and that allows the virus to spread very quickly,” she said.
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