CORONAVIRUS

A few weeks ago, Boston parent Mei Elansary asked her daughter how many students in her kindergarten class received the routine coronavirus testing that the state offers schools for free.

“And she was like, ‘Well, it’s me,’ and she named three other students,” recalled Elansary, a pediatrician and mother of two students in Boston Public Schools.

Top Massachusetts doctor urges the public to ‘stay masked’

Dec 6, 2021
A sign at a Massachusetts business requires customers to wear masks.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR

Two days after the first case of the new omicron COVID-19 variant was officially confirmed in Massachusetts, the head of the state’s largest hospital system stressed the importance of vaccines and masks.

The Massachusetts Statehouse dome.
Fogster / Creative Commons

Massachusetts lawmakers last week quietly passed a bill divvying up about $4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money. It was months in the making.

Vaccination surge could cut hospitalizations by half, says Mass. Gov. Baker

Dec 6, 2021
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
State House News Service

If every unvaccinated person in Massachusetts got their COVID-19 shots, the state's COVID-19 hospitalization rate would drop by 50%, Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday.

Women in Connecticut have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, according to a report released by Girls With Impact, a non-profit providing women's educational support services.

The report found that the hardest hit jobs were in professions where women made up a majority of workers including education, healthcare and the food industries.

Despite COVID uptick, Lamont administration resisting mask mandate

Dec 1, 2021

Despite an uptick in COVID-19 cases post-Thanksgiving and news of a new variant, Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration said Tuesday it has no immediate plans to revive an indoor mask mandate or other coronavirus-related requirements that were common during the first year of the pandemic.

“At this stage, it is still something that is up to the individual cities and towns,” said Max Reiss, a spokesman for Lamont. “Right now, I don’t think there’s anything on the horizon on a statewide basis.”

With vaccine passports near, Mass. governor voices opposition to mandate

Nov 30, 2021
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in a file photo.
State House News Service

A day after Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the state may "soon" deploy a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport similar to those in use in other states, his office stressed that the Republican remains opposed to requiring that businesses screen customers for proof of vaccination.

A vaccine for COVID-19 being prepared.
ALISON MONTEMAGNI/BAYSTATE MEDICAL CENTER / THE REPUBLICAN / MASSLIVE.COM

The head of a western Massachusetts school district said the vast majority of eligible students will meet a Wednesday deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Attorney General Maura Healey and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker picutred in a file photo together taken at the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony on September 21, 2016.
Office of Governor Baker / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/28232089@N04

Two big western Massachusetts cases championed by Attorney General Maura Healey are falling apart.

A sign outside South Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts, with information about Pioneer Valley Project and Behavioral Health Network's pop-up vaccination clinic.
Nirvani Williams / NEPM

Vaccine hesitancy is still prevalent in Hispanic and Latinx communities in Springfield, with COVID-19 vaccination rates trailing well behind the statewide average.

The Holyoke Soldiers' Home on May 1, 2020.
Greg Saulmon / The Republican / masslive.com

The attorneys for the former Holyoke Soldiers' Home superintendent and medical director said they are pleased a judge has dismissed criminal neglect charges against their clients.

Baker order aims to preserve hospital capacity in Massachusetts

Nov 23, 2021
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on January 21, 2021.
State House News Service

Updated at 4:52 p.m. 

As COVID-19 hospitalizations in Massachusetts climb and residents seek care that they might have put off over the last year and a half, the Baker administration will next week begin requiring hospitals to roll back non-essential and non-urgent scheduled procedures if the number of available beds at the facility is limited.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is warning residents not to be complacent during the holiday season, because the state’s COVID-19 infection rate is on the rise.

Even though the state has the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country with 84% of residents 18 and older fully vaccinated, the infection rate is inching up, he said. And surrounding states are experiencing even higher rates of infection.

The Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Mike Plaisance / The Republican / Masslive

Beacon Hill lawmakers heard testimony today on a pair of bills that would streamline the chain of command at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts. At least 76 veterans there died last year during a COVID-19 outbreak.

Connecticut health officials urged state residents to get a COVID-19 booster shot ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

Governor Ned Lamont said COVID-19 cases are on the rise in surrounding states, and that’s why Connecticut residents who had their vaccine shots more than six months ago should get a booster now.

All vaccinated adults in Massachusetts can now get a booster

Nov 18, 2021
UMass Medical School student Timothy Winn prepares doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Hotel Grace homeless shelter in Worcester.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

All Massachusetts adults ages 18 and older are now eligible to receive COVID-19 booster shots, provided enough time has passed since their initial vaccine doses, the Baker administration announced Thursday.

Berkshire Medical Center, part of Berkshire Health Systems, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Over the last several weeks, Berkshire County has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases. But hospitalizations have not spiked at the county's largest hospital.

Conn. legislators consider permanent virtual school as interest grows

Nov 8, 2021

Connecticut legislators recently went on a field trip to a Massachusetts classroom that had no students.

They walked into a physical school building, up a set of stairs, and into an open space filled with cubicles. In those cubicles? Teachers who were conducting live virtual classes.

Superintendent Patrick Lattuca was the tour guide. He said anything that a brick-and-mortar school has, the virtual school has, too.

Attorneys say one of the men who appeared at this week’s inaugural session of a new court inside the Suffolk County jail is now being held at another jail where there is a coronavirus outbreak.

The court, which officials are calling the “Community Response Court Session,” began in the Suffolk County jail Monday as a way to help deal with a sprawling tent encampment near Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, an area sometimes referred to as “Mass. and Cass.”

Massachusetts urges active vaccination role for schools

Nov 2, 2021
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker visits a classroom in Gloucester in March 2021.
Nancy Lane / Boston Herald / Pool / State House News Service

Massachusetts education and public health officials are "strongly" encouraging school districts and local officials to "take an active role" in COVID-19 vaccination for kids younger than 12.

A sign on the door of a Northampton, Massachusetts, restaurant on May 31, 2021.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

Springfield, Massachusetts, lifted its indoor mask mandate as of Monday. Longmeadow, Sunderland and West Springfield have already done so.

Massachusetts State House dome, Beacon Hill, Boston.
Joiseyshowaa / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/joiseyshowaa/

About 500 Massachusetts state employees have been suspended or have resigned following the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Dave Roback / THE REPUBLICAN MASS LIVE

New England states are preparing for a new round of COVID-19 vaccinations as early as next week. That’s when lower dosage shots for children as young as 5 could receive final federal approval. It is one of the topics up for review by panelists this week on And Another Thing.

Massachusetts school mask mandate extended to Jan. 15, 2022

Oct 26, 2021
Michelle Wojtowicz, a teacher at Hadley Elementary School, helps Anna Damon during class on Feb. 24, 2021.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

An indoor mask requirement for Massachusetts public schools will remain in effect through the start of 2022, education officials announced Tuesday.

File photo of Jeff Riley, Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner from 2020.
Nick Czarnecki / Boston Herald Pool via SHNS

Seven schools in Massachusetts have achieved an 80% vaccination rate and a waiver from mask rules from the state education department. But for other schools, masks remain mandatory. That rule expires on November 1.

More than 100 Hartford HealthCare employees out of work after refusing vaccine

Oct 22, 2021

Just over 100 Hartford HealthCare employees — representing 0.3% of the health system’s workforce — have left the organization as of Thursday after refusing to get vaccinated for COVID-19, according to Dr. Ajay Kumar, Chief Clinical Officer.

“We don’t even use the term ‘termination,’” Kumar said. “The individual decided to choose a different path in their career. … We’re very respectful of people’s choices.”

City Hall in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Kenneth C. Zirkel / Creative Commons / commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Kzirkel

The Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Health Department has issued a statement saying there is a COVID-19 cluster at the city's post office, but the postal service isn't cooperating with contact tracers. The city said the lack of collaboration "poses a risk to the community."

Friday is the state deadline for pediatricians and all other health care providers who care for children to preorder the pediatric COVID vaccine. The state is encouraging preorders in anticipation of the Pfizer vaccine likely becoming available for kids ages 5 to 11 in the coming weeks.

The Scott administration on Monday unveiled its long-term plan for people in emergency motel housing.

The new proposal could extend motel housing stays for low-income Vermonters for up to 18 months. The emergency housing program had been set to expire Thursday, but the administration now says it’ll extend it until Dec. 31.

The Massachusetts State Police general headquarters.
Jacqueline Tempera / MassLive / masslive.com

Three days after a deadline requiring Massachusetts state employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive a waiver, it is unclear what may happen to the approximately 5% of the state workforce that has not met the requirement.

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