Update from Beacon Hill from Mass Access – April 13, 2020April 13, 2020
Monday, April 13
Contact: David Gauthier
As of Sunday night, DPH reported a total of 25,475 cases, more than double the 10,402 reported last Friday. The state has now confirmed a total of 756 deaths from the virus.
The Baker administration announced Friday it is targeting five alternate care sites.
These field hospitals will serve as an alternative site for hospitals to treat patients, particularly individuals who need acute care.
They are being built all around the state to ensure all residents have access to this emergency care. The field hospital at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center will open today.
Field hospitals at the DCU Center in Worcester and Newton Pavilion started accepting patients yesterday.
Over the coming week, additional facilities will open up in Cape Cod, Springfield, and Lowell. These facilities will provide approximately 1,000 additional beds for patients who do not require ICU-level care.
Just 200 of 1,700 ventilators sought from the federal stockpile have been assured, although 200 more are supposed to arrive next week and efforts are continuing to bring more of the devices to Massachusetts.
The Department of Public Health announced it will issue a Public Health Advisory that, consistent with CDC guidance, recommends that people wear a mask or cover their face in public when they cannot safely socially distance.
For example, members of the public will be advised to wear something to cover their face in public places like supermarkets and pharmacies.
Facing a court challenge and under pressure from candidates who have raised public health concerns, Senate Democrats announced Friday night that a bill lowering signature collection requirements for some candidates during the COVID-19 crisis will be taken up on Monday.
The Senate Rules Committee has released S.2632 that would cut in half the required signatures for candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor’s Council and most county offices.
The bill leaves in place the signature thresholds for state legislative seats.
-MCAS testing requirements for the school year are suspended, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will modify or waive graduation requirements for students to complete high school this summer and due dates for district improvement plans will be pushed back under legislation signed into law by Governor Baker on Friday.
On Tuesday Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan and the Joint Ways and Means Committee chairmen plan to connect with a group of economists and others involved with state budgeting to get a better idea of the ramifications that the shutdown of the economy in response to COVID-19 will have on state revenues and budget planning for next year, as well as effects this fiscal year.
The Legislature is attempting its first zoom hearing on Monday afternoon.
Lawmakers will consider testimony on legislation that would boost cash benefits available to low-income residents at a Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities virtual hearing. Only one bill, H.4622 is on the agenda.
Governor Baker is meeting remotely at 2pm this afternoon with legislative leadership.
The House and Senate were both off for the weekend, with their next sessions scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m.