Snow in April, COVID-19 issues, and more
— Even though it’s mid-April, the National Weather Service is forecasting 2-4 inches of snow over areas west of I-495 and up to 2 inches inside Route 128, with the snow starting this evening.
— Mass. Export Center invites three partners from Foley Hoag LLP to a free webinar to discuss challenges businesses face in risk management and supply change disruptions during the pandemic, 12 p.m.
— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Barbara Lee of California and Robin Kelly of Illinois host a press call to discuss their bill, the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act, 12:45 p.m.
— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy holds virtual town hall with United Regional Chamber of Commerce to answer questions from small business owners in the Attleboro region, 1 p.m.
— Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria joins city and elected officials to show gratitude to Cambridge Health Alliance employees, 103 Garland Street, Everett, 2:30 p.m.
For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.
Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free
A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.
The numbers: 137 new deaths, 1,245 total deaths, 2,263 new cases
CBS Boston has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
Nursing-home updates: 30 dead at Belmont facility; 12 dead at Quincy home; 13 dead at Jewish Healthcare Center
The numbers continue to shock. From the Globe’s John Ellement and Laura Crimaldi: “A family-owned nursing home and rehabilitation facility in Belmont said Thursday that a total of 30 residents have died from COVID-19, more than doubling the death toll at the facility since Saturday.” The facility in question is the Belmont Manor Nursing Rehabilitation Center, whose chief has issued a letter to loved ones on the “heart-wrenching news” coming out of the center (CommonWealth).
Meanwhile, from the Patriot Ledger’s Mary Whitfil: “Twelve nursing home residents in Quincy die of COVID-19.” … From MassLive: “13 deaths connected to COVID-19 at Jewish Healthcare Center; cases increase at other care facilities.” … And, finally, from a three-reporter team at the Globe: “Critics say state needs to repeatedly test all nursing home staff and residents.”
Meanwhile, coronavirus spreads to three state-run facilities
In other group-home news, the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau and WBUR’s Deborah Becker report that hundreds of patients and staff members have come down with COVID-19 at state-run facilities for those with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and other conditions. The facilities include Tewksbury Hospital, Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain and, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association, the Hogan Regional Center in Danvers.
And from WGBH’s Jenifer McKim: “Mental Health Advocacy Groups Launch Investigation Of Lemuel Shattuck Hospital After ‘Rapid Spread’ Of COVID-19 Cases.
Hotspot updates: Brockton imposes curfew, Baker defends Chelsea response, Bridgewater emerges as correctional hotspot
The Enterprise’s Cody Shepard reports that Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan is implementing a new curfew, starting tonight, in his hard-hit city, which recently ranked as having the second highest per capital number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts. … In other hotspot news, from the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Baker defends state coronavirus efforts in Chelsea.” … From Universal Hub: “Chelsea, National Guard and Salvation Army begin daily food distribution sites.” … And, finally the Globe’s Vernal Coleman reports that the number of deaths at Bridgewater’s Massachusetts Treatment Center “puts it on par with much bigger jails and prisons across the country.”
Trump cedes economic ship to mutinying governors
President Donald ‘William Bligh’ Trump yesterday issued economic reopening guidelines, but he’s no longer claiming ‘total’ control over reopening matters and ceding most decisions to the very people he accused of being ‘mutineers,’ i.e. governors, reports the Washington Post and the Globe’s Liz Goodwin.
The Globe’s editorial board throws its lot in with the mutinying governors. The Herald’s Hillary Chabot says the president’s action may represent an “abrupt reversal,” but it’s also a “politically savvy move that subdues his critics by giving once-mutineering pols little reason to criticize the outcome.”
Left out: Romney only GOP senator not invited to White House task force
His invitation must have been lost in the mail. Jordain Carney at the Hill reports former Massachusetts governor and current U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney is the only Republican senator not to be named to a congressional task force the White House created concerning the reopening of the U.S. economy. Adding political insult to injury: Even Democrats are serving. Isn’t it good to know pettiness continues even amid a pandemic?
As Baker urges people to focus on the surge, he also calls for more economic assistance from feds
Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday warned that the “worst part” of the coronavirus outbreak is now upon us, as the Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports, and he’s cautioning against “letting up now” on social-distancing efforts by focusing too much on economic-reopening issues, as SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports (pay wall)
But the governor yesterday did focus a little on economic matters, saying he hopes that Congress will approve more loan funds for small businesses, as MassLive’s Steph Solis report.
So how is the state paying for all of its coronavirus emergency actions?
The state is throwing gobs of money and resources at the coronavirus outbreak. But how is it paying for it all without having to dip into the state’s emergency rainy day fund? Mostly via the re-allocation of MassHealth/Medicaid funds that are no longer being used for elective medical procedures. SHNS’s Michael Norton explains.
SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)
More than half a million people have now filed jobless claims in Massachusetts
Another 102,828 people filed for unemployment claims last week in Massachusetts, bringing the total number of claims since the coronavirus outbreak to more than 500,000. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has more on the astounding numbers.
Spilka and DeLeo agree: State’s who-gets-to-live guidelines need change
SHNS’s Michael Norton reports (pay wall) that House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka are vowing legislative action to revise the Baker’s administration’s recent coronavirus “care standards,” i.e. the guidelines about who gets to use ventilators and receive other life-saving emergency treatments during the COVID-19 crisis. The two are effectively agreeing with other lawmakers who are concerned about potential racial disparities tied to the guidelines.
Fed control tower to JetBlue: You are now required to provide service in Worcester
Nope. The U.S. Department of Transportation has denied JetBlue’s request to completely shut down service out of Worcester Regional Airport during the coronavirus crisis, citing the carrier’s acceptance of fed stimulus money and the need to keep at least basic travel options available, Steven Foskett Jr. reports at the Telegram.
Lawmakers call for mandatory curbside grocery pickups at supermarkets
This is interesting, even though it may not go anywhere. SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports (pay wall) that 42 state lawmakers have written to Gov. Charlie Baker asking that he order outdoor curbside pickup services be provided at grocery stores during the coronavirus pandemic, saying it’s a safe alternative to people actually going into stores.
McGovern: Time to allow remote voting in U.S. House
The Washington Post reports that U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the House Rules Committee, is recommending that the chamber adopt a system of remote voting by proxy during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘An army of virus tracers takes shape in Massachusetts’
The NYT’s Ellen Barry takes a look at the state’s ambitious $44 million plan to start tracing people who may have come into contact with those testing positive for the coronavirus. And it’s all being done in the “old-school, labor-intensive” way: Hiring actual people, not deploying new electronic gadgets, to trace the spread of the virus.
Judge sides with Baker in pot shop closures
The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett and MassLive’s Melissa Hanson report that a Superior Court judge has ruled against pot-shop owners who object to Gov. Charlie Baker’s order closing retail marijuana stores during the coronavirus emergency. The judge denied a preliminary injunction request to reopen the pot shops.
Meanwhile, national gun groups sue state over shop closings
More forced-closures news, from Stephanie Purifoy at the Globe: “A national gun rights group has filed a federal lawsuit against Attorney General Maura Healey and Governor Charlie Baker in an effort to allow firearms dealers to reopen during the COVID-19 crisis, the organization announced Thursday.”
Amesbury store owner claims political payback for store closure
In yet more forced-closure news: Public safety or political payback? The owner of an Amesbury gift shop that pivoted to selling masks and other essential items only to be ordered closed by city health officials says she is being targeted by Mayor Kassandra Gove because she backed the mayor’s opponent in the last election, Jim Sullivan reports at the Newburyport Daily News.
Emergency housing-protection bill stalls due to lone objection
You just knew this would happen. From SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk: “A COVID-19 housing stability bill imposing a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions during the state of emergency stalled on Thursday after a Norfolk Republican objected and ended the House’s session for the day.” Lawmakers could potentially take up the bill again today, but we’ll see.
SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)
Inside job: Former Peabody treasurer admits she steered sweetheart deals to family
In non-coronavirus news, the former city treasurer in Peabody will pay a $50,000 penalty after agreeing not to contest state Ethics Commission findings that she used her role to help friends and family profit from buying and reselling distressed properties, Ethan Forman reports at the Salem News. Jeanne Carnevale — the daughter of late Peabody Mayor Peter Torigian — tipped off associates to at least three purchases that paid off handsomely.
Former councilor Consalvo files to run for Scaccia’s House seat
From Universal Hub: “Wearing blue gloves and mask, former City Councilor Rob Consalvo (yesterday) filed signatures to get on the September Democratic primary ballot to replace 14th Suffolk State Rep. Angelo Scaccia, who is not running for re-election.”
Sunday public affairs TV: Ed Markey, Richard Neal, Lonnie Bunch
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, who talks with host Jon Keller about the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak and his re-election campaign.
This Week in Business, NECN 10 a.m. Jim Rooney, CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, talks about the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis; Foundation for Business Equity Executive Director Glynn Lloyd and Amplify Latinx Co-Founder Betty Francisco talk about the coronavirus hardships felt in minority communities; and Shirley Leung of the Globe looks at the top business issues of the week.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.
CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: A conversation with Lonnie G. Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and the first African-American to head the prestigious museum and research system.
Graduate Student Conference 2020
The John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies hosts a Graduate Student Conference 2020 on Policy and Global Studies. The conference includes several panels and flash talk presentations on the theme: “Policy and Politics Across Public Spaces: Building Communities from the Local to the Globa
Art Happy with Katie series
Join Art Happy with Katie for fun, stay-at-home activities for the family!
After Devastating Flooding, Some South End Businesses Must Start from Scratch – Boston Magazine
Car Gurus lays off 13 percent of staff, citing coronavirus – Boston Globe
Holyoke, Comcast strike deal to provide free internet access for students – Daily Hampshire Gazette
Westport dairy farms hard hit by coronavirus crisis – Standard-Times
Carpenters call on Spicer to shut down Framingham worskite, citing coronavirus safety concerns – MetroWest Daily News
Sen. Joe Manchin to endorse Joe Biden for president – Politico
43,000 US millionaires will get stimulus checks averaging $1.6 million each – New York Post
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