Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to provide the latest updates in the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic. The daily press conference, which will take place in the State House's Gardner Auditorium, will be live-streamed here.
Gov. Baker cautioned Monday that, even with models projecting peak hospitalizations some time between April 10 and April 20 and tens of thousands infected over the course of the coronavirus outbreak, estimates on the final death toll remain unknown.
"No one really knows how many people will be lost to this virus," Baker said at a Monday press conference as the Department of Public Health concurrently released data showing another 29 fatalities since Sunday. "Behind every one of those numbers is a person with a story and family and a circle of friends."
The administration and health care leaders continue to prepare for the surge they expect to be approaching, aware that they will need more ventilators than are currently available in the state to limit the impact. As of Monday, 13,837 total Massachusetts cases have been identified.
Massachusetts received 100 ventilators from the national stockpile, but that is just a small part of the 1,700 it requested and Baker said Monday he will continue pushing for the federal government to fulfill the rest of the Bay State's crucial need.
Meanwhile, the congressional delegation slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency's help with ventilators as "grossly insufficient," warning that hospitals could run out of the life-saving equipment in a matter of days without help from Washington.
The governor and First Lady Lauren Baker announced a new COVID-19 Massachusetts Relief Fund Monday that aims to blunt the widespread economic fallout of the outbreak. About $13 million is available in funding at launch, which will be targeted toward organizations that help those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic or on the front lines of the response.
Work in the Legislature is proceeding slowly. After sending Baker a bill last week that he promptly signed allowing restaurants to sell beer and wine to go and granting municipalities more timeline flexibility, the branches on Monday did not reach final consensus on any of the several other proposals before them.
The Senate directed to its Ways and Means Committee both a bill loosening MCAS testing requirements and a bill pausing all eviction and foreclosure proceedings. The branch had passed its own moratorium, but will now consider a House version that advocates view as a stronger option.
In the House, lawmakers received several new bills tackling student loan, employee wage, and transportation funding aspects of the crisis, but only teed them up for the start of the committee process. -