3/18 COVID-19 Updates

As of Monday March 16th, there were seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cambridge. You can learn more here: http://cambridgepublichealth.org/news/article.php?id=240
As of yesterday, March 17th, there are 218 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1367 patients have been tested in the state. You can learn more here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-cases-quarantine-and-monitoring
Yesterday, I filed a bill with my Senate Partner Senator Sal DiDomenico that focuses on the lowest income families and individuals by providing one-time supplemental cash assistance to Massachusetts’ 30,000 families with children who receive Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits and 19,000 elders and persons with disabilities who receive benefits under the Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) program. The COVID-19 pandemic hits these families and individuals the hardest. Those who struggle to pay for necessities like toilet paper, food, and heating are less able to meet those needs when family members are home all day. Many will lose hours of work or not be able to work as they have to stay home to take care of their kids. Helping the very poorest families and individuals meet their basic needs is one crucial way that we can ensure everyone is able to stay well during this time.
The Massachusetts Trial Courts will be closed to the public, except for emergency matters between today, March 18th through April 6th. You can learn more about this order here:https://www.mass.gov/alerts/supreme-judicial-court-restricts-court-appearances-to-emergency-matters#undefined
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is extending the expiration date of certain credentials to reduce the number of customers in service centers and AAA locations. Class D and DM driver’s licenses, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits that have expired or are expiring between 3/1 and 4/30 will have a 60 day extension on their expiration date. Learn more here:https://www.mass.gov/info-details/rmv-covid-19-information
Today, essential MBTA Service is being added, including more frequent Blue Line service to meet demand. See the MBTA website for schedule updates: mbta.com/coronavirus
Yesterday, Governor Baker announced new orders to address COVID-19. These include:
  • Expediting the licensing of Health Care professionals. This means that physicians who have retired in the last year in good standing can have their licenses reactivated, and licenses in need of renewal will have the renewal deadline extended until 90 days after the end of the public health emergency. Providers in good standing in other states will be able to get emergency licenses that allow them to practice in person or through telemedicine in MA. The ability of residents to provide services will be expanded. Minimum standards for ambulance staffing will be adjusted, which will help to ensure availability and capacity of EMS services. Telehealth services will be expanded across state lines.
  • The state will be distributing $5 million in emergency funds to local boards of health,which will help to address immediate needs.
  • The Governor is formally requesting that the federal Small Business Administration issue a declaration of economic injury for the state. This would allow business owners impacted by COVID-19 to obtain low-interest loans. 
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the creation of the Boston Resiliency Fund, which has a $20 million funding target and will provide relief to families needing assistance. This is hopeful news as we look to ways to help Cambridge families in need. Learn more here:http://bit.ly/2ITiLlB
The Humane Society of the United States has created a shelter toolkit with resources and information. This page includes information on how people can best prepare to take care of their pet, whether their pet can contract COVID-19  and how they can assist animals best during this time. You can learn more here: https://www.animalsheltering.org/COVID19
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns to Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov.

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