CORONAVIRUS

The state official in charge of Connecticut’s vaccine rollout believes Governor Ned Lamont’s decision to switch to an age-based plan is the quickest and most equitable way to get shots in the arm.

An empty classroom.
Violet Jiang / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/124094550@N02

Some Massachusetts parents disagree with Governor Charlie Baker's plan to get students back in classrooms by the end of the school year, a proposal announced earlier this week. 

Kim Steinberg had already registered her business in January on the state’s website so she could get her employees vaccinated. Now most won't qualify until May. 

Nurses talk to a patient at the COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

A day before Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is set to testify before lawmakers on the state's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, he announced 11 regional vaccination sites in the state, including locations in Berkshire, Franklin and Hampshire counties.

Unions for Connecticut’s grocery workers said they’re disappointed to be left out of Governor Ned Lamont’s changes to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Malden.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker wants to phase out remote learning starting in April, making it possible for every student to return to the classroom before the school year ends.

Vaccination Scheduling Vendor For Massachusetts Billed For $500K

Feb 23, 2021
A COVID-19 vaccine.
Pat Greenhouse / Boston Globe / Pool / State House News Service

The Maryland-based software company whose technology played a role in the COVID-19 vaccine scheduling system fiasco in Massachusetts last week appears to have cost the state almost half a million dollars, according to the Baker administration.

Governor Ned Lamont said Connecticut’s priority for COVID-19 vaccinations will now be based on age instead of essential workers. He said starting next Monday the rollout will extend to residents 55 and older.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal speaks at a press conference in Springfield, Massachusetts, on February 22, 2021.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

A U.S. Congressman from western Massachusetts is not joining other state politicians in criticizing Governor Charlie Baker for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Razor wire on top of the perimeter fence at the Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow, Massachsuetts.
File Photo / The Republican / Masslive

A justice for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held a hearing Friday on a case against sheriffs across the state, who oversee county jails.

It’s clear that some health conditions increase risk for a serious case of COVID-19. So, in their vaccination plans, Massachusetts and several other states are prioritizing residents with cancer, heart disease, obesity and other medical concerns.

A still image from a TV ad by the Connecticut Education Association promotes COVID-19 vaccines for educators.
Connecticut Education Association / YouTube

Though Connecticut educators are considered essential workers, they are not yet eligible for vaccination against COVID-19.

Vaccination for COVID-19 takes place at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

Western Massachusetts legislators are urging patience for those newly-eligible for the vaccine — but they're also frustrated at the state's glitchy rollout.

'Pissed Off' Gov. Baker Promises Fixes To Massachusetts Vaccination Website

Feb 18, 2021
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Feb. 17, 2021.
State House News Service

About 50,000 vaccination appointments for next week — mostly at Fenway Park in Boston and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts — will be made available on the state's vaccine scheduling website once it is fully functioning again, Gov. Charlie Baker said during a radio interview just after noon Thursday.

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered at Baystate Medical Center.
Baystate Health / MassLive / MassLive.com

A coalition of health and community leaders wants Massachusetts to get more vaccines to people of color.

Massachusetts will roughly double the population eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday, when people 65 and older, the residents and staff of affordable and low-income housing for seniors, and people with two or more health conditions that put them at higher risk will be newly able to make appointments and be vaccinated.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont received his first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

MAXPIXEL.NET / CREATIVE COMMONS

Baystate Health CEO Mark Keroack says the isolation of learning remotely is causing serious psychological stress on children.

UMass Amherst Lockdown Taking Mental, Financial Toll On Students

Feb 16, 2021

A sharp rise in COVID-19 cases at UMass Amherst has left students stuck in place after the university ordered a two-week lockdown.

The lockdown requires students to shelter in their dorms except to get food and attend essential appointments and also bans all student gatherings and outdoor exercise through next Sunday.

For a first-person account of how students are handling this, WBUR’s Morning Edition spoke with Sara McKenna, a UMass senior and secretary of University Policy with UMass Amherst’s Student Government Association.

Freshman Massachusetts state Senator Joanne Comerford sponsored the gender-neutral ID bill and gave her maiden speech on the subject during Thursday's session.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Three state lawmakers from western Massachusetts have been chosen to lead new committees in the new session on Beacon Hill.

Richard Bodo of Auburn, Massachusetts, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on February 1, 2021.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

Massachusetts residents who accompany someone 75 years or older to get the coronavirus vaccine can get one too, even if they aren't otherwise eligible. Governor Charlie Baker is standing by this companion plan, even as some lawmakers blast it.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts.
File Photo / Daily Hamphire Gazette

At least one western Massachusetts hospital is no longer scheduling appointments for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — for now. That's after the state said it's focusing its limited supply on other sites like the Eastfield Mall in Springfield.

Students are allowed to go to the COVID-19 testing site at UMass Amherst's Mullins Center, but the university is warning of possible sanctions for those who continue working off-campus jobs.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

As UMass Amherst tries to beat back a major COVID-19 outbreak, some students are frustrated by at least one new restriction.

The campus of UMass Amherst.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / masslive.com

UMass Amherst students were ordered to sequester this week after a spike of COVID-19 cases on campus. As of Friday morning, there were more than 600 active cases.

Bilgesu Sümer and Laura Fattaruso dated online for a month during the pandemic, before they decided to meet in person.
Submitted photo

The pandemic — and a partially shut down economy — hasn’t stopped Valentine's Day or dating, in general.

Cases Of COVID-19 Continue To Rise At UMass Amherst

Feb 11, 2021
The UMass Amherst campus.
Rhobite / Creative Commons

UMass Amherst now has 541 active COVID-19 cases amid a major outbreak that prompted the near-shutdown of campus.

Buddy System Offered To Boost 75-And-Over Vaccinations

Feb 10, 2021
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker tours the mass vaccination site at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Danvers.
Jonathan Wiggs / Boston Globe / Pool / State House News Service

Anyone — but only one person — who accompanies a Massachusetts senior resident 75 or older to get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of the state's mass vaccination sites will be eligible starting Thursday to get a shot themselves, Gov. Charlie Baker said, detailing a new plan to try to reach as many elderly residents as possible.

One hundred dollar bills.
Pictures of Money / Creative Commons / goo.gl/GZ3kmt

Economic growth in Massachusetts slowed in the fourth quarter of 2020 as a second surge of the coronavirus started to grip the state. 

Board Members Offer Differing Views On Holyoke Soldiers' Home

Feb 10, 2021
Cindy Lacoste (left on screen) of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home board of trustees was among officials questioned by a Massachusetts panel including Sen. Walter Timilty and Rep. Linda Dean Campbell (foreground) and Rep. Ruth Balser (right on screen).
Sam Doran / State House News Service

As they weigh structural reforms to operations at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home in the wake of last year's massive and deadly COVID-19 outbreak, Massachusetts lawmakers must contend with a complicating factor: those already tasked with oversight of the facility have a range of opinions on how their jobs should work.

Connecticut will open COVID-19 vaccinations for residents 65 and older starting Thursday. Governor Ned Lamont said this would allow providers to immediately begin to use any extra vaccine doses on that group.

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