Dr. Eliesel Lacerda De La Cruz has been our chief COVID-19 correspondent throughout the coronavirus crisis. Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz is the infectious disease expert at Southcoast Health and is the chairman of infectious disease prevention. He joins us each Monday at 7:45 a.m. on The Rock and Fox Show.

Governor Baker's stay-at-home advisory and ban on non-essential businesses from opening is set to expire on Monday. Whether or not any restrictions will be lifted depends upon a number of different factors.

The governor and his re-opening board will be closely watching the number of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and recoveries. Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz expects to see the lifting of some of the statewide restrictions next week as part of a slow, well-planned re-opening process.

While Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz is encouraged by the numbers across the Commonwealth as a whole, he would be happier if he was seeing a reduction of the numbers closer to home.

"If you look at the total numbers for Massachusetts, we are on the downtrend. Compared to two weeks ago we have about 7,000 to 8,000 fewer cases, but here on the SouthCoast we are still at the plateau phase," he said. "About two weeks back, we went from having about 200 cases per 100,000 people to about 600 cases per 100,000 people in the population, and we are staying there. We are not in the downslope of our curve yet. We are holding steady."

The doctor reiterated that he fully expects to see a spike in the number of cases here in Massachusetts once we open the economy again.

"We all have to prepare that once we open again, we are going to see an increase in the cases in some areas, and we'll have to be prepared for that," he said.

LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus in New Bedford/Fall River, MA

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