Covid-19 Massachusetts State House Update 3-23-2020

March 23, 2020

  • The House and Senate are both scheduled to meet in informal session Monday at 11am.  Sessions will be live streamed.
  • Massachusetts lawmakers are preparing to advance a bill Monday to allow municipalities to postpone local elections and drafting separate legislation that promises a “crucial safety net” to protect renters and homeowners from the growing ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • House Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Spilka and Governor Baker are expected to meet this afternoon at 2pm for their weekly leadership meeting with a press conference likely to follow.
  • As of Monday morning there is no shelter-in-place order in Massachusetts.
  • As of Sunday night, Massachusetts has had five deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 121 newly confirmed cases as of Sunday afternoon for a total of 646.
  • More than 6,000 people had been tested through Sunday afternoon.
  • If the testing capacity meets Governor Baker’s goal, 3,500 people will be able to be tested daily within the next few days.
  • Every county in Massachusetts now has at least one case of the COVID-19 illness after Nantucket, which had been the last county without a confirmed case, confirmed Sunday that one patient tested positive at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital.
  • Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh had “very productive” conversations Saturday with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers around identifying, retrofitting and using college dorms, closed nursing homes and other facilities as extra medical treatment capacity as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
  • The governor said Saturday afternoon that the state’s Coronavirus Command Center, helmed by EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders, has been talking to hospitals to “scenario plan” for an influx of COVID-19 patients, and will now work to pick some sites in Massachusetts that the Army Corps might be able to convert. It would be a few weeks before the Corps would have any such site ready, he said.
  • The governor said some colleges have already expressed a willingness to make dorms available for medical use. The biggest issues, he said, are ensuring that the sites have adequate electricity and water supplies for medical operations. Baker said the Army Corps on Saturday essentially gave the state a “cookbook” that it can use to select sites it wants the Corps to inspect physically.
  • For health care providers, grocery store employees and other essential workers, the governor said Saturday that the state has more than 300 locations ready to provide emergency child care beginning Monday, when all other early education centers and family child care providers must close under an executive order issued by the governor last Wednesday.

More details on the sites will be provided via the state’s Department of Early Education and Care website

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