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Known Coronavirus Cases in Mass. Up to 138; 104 Connected To Biogen Meeting

A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation on February 28, 2020 in Nutley, New Jersey. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation on February 28, 2020 in Nutley, New Jersey. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has upped the number of known coronavirus cases in the state by 15, bringing the total to 138 cases.

Of the 138, 19 cases have been confirmed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The remaining cases are "presumptive positives" confirmed by the state's own testing.

The DPH released numbers stating that 104 cases are believed to be linked to the Biogen Conference held in late February.

In 11 of the total known cases, patients have been hospitalized, according to the DPH.

The rise in cases comes on the heels of Governor Charlie Baker's press conference announcing that the state has started a command center to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The command center is to coordinate response to the outbreak, and will be headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.

It was announced during the press conference that the state had administered 475 coronavirus tests as of Friday.

The Baker administration is taking steps to increase testing capacity at the state lab and will refer samples for patients with milder cases of suspected COVID-19 to private labs. Hospitals, preparing for an influx of patients, are moving to defer elective care and procedures such as colonoscopies, mammograms as well as some surgeries.

Tufts Medical Center began rescheduling patients last week and retrained staff for more urgent respiratory care and assistance. Partners HealthCare said today that it will also postpone non-urgent care. More details are from each member hospital are expected next week. These steps are in line with guidance from the U.S. Surgeon General and the American College of Surgeons.

This article was originally published on March 14, 2020.

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