COVID-19 Massachusetts State House Update 4-8-2020

April 8, 2020

  • As of Tuesday night, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts has climbed to 15,202 with 1,435 being hospitalized and 356 deaths attributed to the virus.
  • Legislative leaders and the Governor’s top budget official were forced to postpone a virtual roundtable discussion with state economists due to technological difficulties.  The event will be rescheduled for next Tuesday.
  • In addition to HWM Chairman Michlewitz and SWM Chairman Rodrigues and A&F Secretary Mike Heffernan, the roundtable was due to include State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, MTF President Eileen McAnneny, Beacon Hill Institute President David Tuerck, Mass Budget & Policy Center President Marie-Frances Rivera, UMass Dartmouth Professor Michael Goldman, Northeastern University economist Alan Clayton-Matthews, S&P Chief Economist Beth Ann Bovino, Evan Horowitz, the Executive Director of the Center for State Policy Analysis and Moody’s Government Consulting Director Dan White.
  • Current House Dean, Representative Angelo Scaccia (D-Readville) announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election after 23 terms.
  • Representative Hank Naughton also confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he would not be seeking re-election to a 14th term in the House in November after accepting a job with the New York law firm, Napoli Shkolnik PLLC.
  • In preparation for the potential that hospitals may run out of life-saving supplies to treat every COVID-19 patient that shows up at their door, state public health officials released guidance Tuesday to help providers make the grim choice about which patients to prioritize, advising the doctors treat the young and most likely to survive first.
  • The recommendations were published by an advisory committee of medical experts and ethicists from Massachusetts convened by Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, who herself is suffering with COVID-19.  The guidance document is attached.
  • The Baker administration will direct another $800 million to the Massachusetts health care industry, supplementing $840 million in previously announced assistance as the state works to bulk up its front line of the defense against the forthcoming COVID-19 surge.
  • Despite the large total, Governor Baker said that he does not plan to file a supplemental budget to seek new appropriations for the funding injection and can cover the cost using “offsets, reductions in MassHealth and enhanced federal revenue.”
  • State leaders have now directed more than $1.6 billion toward the health care system since March, which Baker said is critical to help providers simultaneously meet any new needs and weather a period of declining revenues as elective procedures and in-person office visits have largely ceased.
  • The Baker administration plans to call for the number of people allowed in a grocery store at one time to be limited to 40 percent of the store’s capacity in an additional step aimed at helping people stay safe while out of their homes.  The revised guidance document is attached.
  • The CCC announced Tuesday that certain non-medical growers can now transfer their crops to the medical supply chain.
  • The new order lays out the criteria and requirements of such a transfer.  It also includes a new requirement that licensees notify the CCC of any work related illnesses from COVID-19 among employees.  The order is attached.
  • The House and Senate are scheduled to both meet in informal session again on Thursday at 11am.
  • Sessions continue to be live streamed.

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