Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker this week praised Springfield's efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve, bringing the city's risk level from moderate to low.
“Dom Sarno, who’s the mayor in Springfield, has been incredibly aggressive about messaging, and communicating, and encouraging people to do the things that work,” Baker said. “He closed down a few parks, where he felt people just weren’t taking seriously the issues associated with distancing, and didn’t open them back up until he got commitments from the neighborhood that people were going to be serious about this.”
Panelist Mike Dobbs echoed the governor's sentiments.
"I think that everyone here has been taking it extremely seriously," Dobbs said. "You know, the mayor has his weekly COVID press conferences, where he brings in all sorts of people. And I think that he's been he has been very aggressive in trying to deal with this. I think that in a city with a high rate of poverty — in a city where, you know, maybe taking COVID precautions isn't necessarily the top-of-mind awareness for everyone — I think that he and his administration have done a very good job. And I'm glad that the governor pointed it out."
At the same press conference, Baker also blasted an unemployment relief plan by President Trump, saying it isn't sustainable. He also called on congressional leaders from both parties to come together on another relief bill.
Panelist Liz Román said the governor was likely reflecting what his constituents think.
"I think he was just expressing what the people are feeling, just what average residents are feeling, about fear of not knowing if they're going to have a check for more than a couple of weeks," Román said. "A lot of places still are not open, or only partially open, and can't accommodate full-time employment. So I actually felt that he expressed himself in the way that his constituents would have wanted him to."
Meanwhile, in Connecticut, The Hartford Courant reports that about a dozen school districts after opening for in-person learning have had positive cases of COVID-19. And there's no clear mandate from the state whether schools should stay open after a case has been detected. The Courant reports some schools have shut down, while others have stayed open, asking those in contact with infected people to quarantine.
In Massachusetts, education officials have come up with steps to follow when considering whether to close school, including consulting with the local board of health, looking at metrics for the town involved, and working with the state. But there's no hard-and-fast rule about when school must close.
Looking back at last week's Massachusetts primary, there were a couple of races for federal offices which took a negative tone, especially as the election got closer. Dobbs wrote a column this week with the headline, "Candidates smear each other and it’s shameful."
Friday marks 19 years since the 9/11 attacks took place — the single deadliest instance of a terror attack in world history. Commemorations were held locally in Springfield, West Springfield and Westfield, as well as all across the county.
- Elizabeth Román, reporter/editor, Springfield Republican and El Pueblo Latino
- Mike Dobbs, managing editor, The Reminder