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'Devastating': Nearly Half Of Boston's Coronavirus Deaths Have Been In Nursing Facilities

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh gives a COVID-19 update, in front of City Hall, during the coronavirus pandemic. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe)
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh gives a COVID-19 update, in front of City Hall, during the coronavirus pandemic. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe)

At least 252 people have died from COVID-19 in Boston's nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The fatalities account for 48% of the city’s coronavirus-related deaths, Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday — a figure he called "devastating."

Nursing homes and other senior long-term care facilities are overseen by the state, but Walsh said that the city of Boston is doing what it can to help. The city has created a disease containment strike team, provided staffing and administrative assistance and delivered medical supplies.

Walsh promised to continue support for nursing homes, residents and families.

"We've provided 206,000 items of personal protective equipment [to nursing homes], including 62,000 surgical masks, 6,000 face shields and over 14,000 gowns," Walsh said.

Statewide, 60% of all coronavirus-related deaths have been at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Close to 41,000 people are living in nursing homes in Massachusetts.

Walsh said he hopes the state will take a measured approach as it moves to reopen businesses. He and Gov. Charlie Baker have spoken at length about getting back to business. A measured approach is necessary as different industries come together to forge the road ahead, Walsh said.

"As we think about opening up any industry or any area, whether it's business or social gatherings, it has to be slow and steady. We only have one shot of getting it right," Walsh said.

The mayor added that, for the sake of public health and Boston's economy, he wants to avoid the spike in cases that some cities have seen after reopening too fast.

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Elie Levine Twitter Freelance Digital Producer
Elie Levine is a freelance digital producer for WBUR.

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Paris is an associate producer for Radio Boston.

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