Wednesday, January 27, 2021

"Beam Signing Ceremony"

From time-to-time, students and school staff will leave an indelible mark on a school, today I had an opportunity to leave one. Thanks to an invitation from Pentucket Regional School District Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Seymour and Justin Bartholomew, Chair of the Building Committee, I was asked to sign the "last beam" that will be placed onto the new Middle/High School. Pentucket Regional is a regional school district with students from the towns of #Groveland, #Merrimac, and #WestNewbury, With State Rep. Lenny Mirra 

 

 











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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tonight Governor Baker delivered a State of the Commonwealth Address that not only recognized the difficult times that we are enduring, but also the tenacity, innovation, collaboration, and countless acts of individual dedication and sacrifice that enable us to endure them with hope for the future, and pride in our state and our neighbors. 

Beyond any single issue or act, the Governor's words have spoken to the need for all of us to rise to the challenges of the times, to remember that we all have something to contribute to the effort and that we need to forge ahead with respect, civility, and an unyielding commitment to get to the brighter days which lay ahead.


 


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Monday, January 25, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Expansion of COVID-19 Vaccination Sites, Updates to Phase Two

Vaccinations for Individuals 75+ to Begin on February 1 as part of Phase Two 

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced an expansion of COVID-19 vaccination sites in all parts of the Commonwealth, including new mass vaccination sites, pharmacy locations and local sites. By mid-February, the Administration expects there will be 165 vaccination sites in the Commonwealth. The Administration also announced updates to plans for Phase Two of the Commonwealth’s distribution plan. Individuals 75 years or older will now be the first priority group in Phase Two, and individuals 65 years and older have been moved into the second priority group, in addition to individuals with two comorbidities. Starting on February 1 individuals age 75 or older can be vaccinated. Vaccination sites can be found on the Commonwealth’s map at mass.gov/COVIDVaccineMap

Vaccination Site Expansion

The COVID-19 Response Command Center has been working with health care providers, local officials, pharmacies and others to set up additional COVID-19 vaccination sites across the Commonwealth, with a focus on accessibility and geographic equity.

As of this week, Massachusetts plans to have 103 publicly available vaccination sites. Between these sites and other vaccination clinic sites (e.g. congregate care, health systems), the Commonwealth currently has the capacity to administer 242,000 doses of vaccine per week. This capacity is significantly more than the 173,175 first and second doses that the Commonwealth expects to receive from the federal government this week.

By mid-February, the Administration expects there will be 165 publicly available vaccination sites. Between these sites and other vaccination clinic sites (e.g., congregate care, health systems) the Commonwealth will have capacity to administer 305,000 vaccinations per week. This capacity is significantly more capacity than the 189,640 doses that the Commonwealth expects to receive from the federal government that week.

It is important to note that the state’s capacity to vaccinate is not the same as the number of shots administered. Vaccine capacity is determined by the state’s plan to establish sites, staff and logistics in place to do 305,000 doses by mid-February. But, the actual number of vaccinations administered to residents depends on several variables, including the availability of doses from the federal government.

The Commonwealth is planning to set up the capacity to administer more doses than we are currently receiving from the federal government. If Massachusetts continues to get the same number of doses from the federal government that the state is getting now, there could be empty seats at vaccine sites. The Administration also announced new mass vaccinations sites in Springfield, Danvers and Boston: The Springfield site at Eastfield Mall will open on January 29.

The Danvers sites at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel will open on February 3. In collaboration with the City of Boston, a site at the Reggie Lewis Center will open the first week of February. These are in addition to sites already announced at Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park. By mid-February, the Commonwealth’s mass vaccination sites will have the capacity to vaccinate 76,000 people each week. The Administration expects to open at least seven mass vaccination sites as vaccine distribution continues. These mass vaccination sites have the ability to significantly and rapidly scale up operations if vaccine supply from the federal government increases.

In addition to the mass vaccination sites, the Administration is establishing public vaccination sites at a variety of different locations in every region of the Commonwealth. Public vaccination sites listed on the map include places like pharmacies, community clinics, and other providers and organizations that have experience administering vaccines efficiently and safely. This week, 44 new public vaccination sites will open. These include new pharmacy and retail locations such as Big Y, Wegmans, Price Chopper, Retail Business Services at Hannaford and Stop and Shop Pharmacies, and CVS Health. While many sites across the Commonwealth are open to all eligible individuals, some sites will be operated by local communities specifically for the residents in their community or the residents in their region. This week, 11 new restricted vaccination sites will open.

A map with all locations is available at mass.gov/COVIDVaccineMap

Each location has additional details on eligible groups and signup details. The map is updated frequently as more sites come online.

Phase Two Priority Group Updates

The Administration announced updates to Phase Two of the distribution plan, which will begin February 1st for the first priority group. Individuals 75 and older will now be the first priority group in Phase Two.

Consistent with CDC guidance, individuals 65 and older and individuals with 2 or more comorbidities will now be the second priority group. Later this month, individuals age 65 or older and individuals with 2 or more comorbidities will be eligible to get the vaccine. The exact date will depend on the vaccine supply from the federal government and the uptake and demand for vaccine appointments.

Along with the addition of individuals age 65 and older into part 2 of Phase Two, the Commonwealth updated the listing to no longer specifically list Public and Private low income and affordable senior housing as its own category, as all individuals over the age of 65 will be eligible to receive vaccine by part 2 of Phase Two regardless of where they live.

The order of Phase Two will now be:

Individuals 75+

Individuals 65+ or with 2+ comorbidities

Early education and K-12 workers, transit, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works, and public health workers, and

Individuals with one comorbidity.

All Phase One eligible priority groups are now eligible for vaccinations, which includes all health care workers, residents and staff of long term care facilities, and congregate care facilities, home health care workers and non-COVID-facing health care workers and first responders.

The Administration will announce further updates on timing for other priority groups as the Commonwealth gets more information on vaccine shipments from the federal government. To learn more about the eligible groups, visit mass.gov/COVIDvaccine

How to Get a Vaccine

Individuals with questions about how to get a vaccine should follow these steps:

Visit mass.gov/COVIDvaccine to find your phase and priority group

If you are eligible: use mass.gov/COVIDVaccineMap to find a vaccine clinic near you

Make an appointment online and fill out the attestation form


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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Jaws of Life Training in Boxford

I ventured out with members of the Town of Boxford's Fire Department for Jaws of Life training yesterday at the invitation of Chief Brian Geiger. Personal protective turnout gear is critically important to all firefighters and that is why I wrote a law that created a fund to make fire safety equipment grants available. Technical training in using gear correctly is vital too, including life-sustaining equipment such as The Jaws of Life. When used right, his powerful tool can extricate a trapped passenger quickly.  












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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Massachusetts RMV Extends Designated Wednesday Appointment Hours for Customers 75 Years of Age or Older Through February & March

Expands available senior appointment types to include registration & title transactions in addition to in-person license renewals 

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is pleased to announce it will continue to offer designated Wednesday appointment hours for customers 75 years of age or older through March 2021. Individuals in this age group are required by state law to renew their Massachusetts driver’s license in-person. Beginning in February, the RMV will also be expanding the license renewal appointments available for these customers to include registration and title services and transactions.

Designated senior service hours began on September 2, 2020, to offer customers 75 and older dedicated times and flexibility to conduct their required in-person license renewals while facilitating “social-distancing” protocols to keep customers and staff safe and healthy.

Senior appointment hours for license renewals, and registration and title services appointments effective in February, will continue to be offered on Wednesdays at the following 17 RMV Service Center locations (hours vary by location): Brockton, Danvers, Fall River, Greenfield, Lawrence, Leominster, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, New Bedford, North Adams, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Revere, South Yarmouth, Springfield, Watertown, and Worcester.

Below are the options for seniors to schedule in-person appointments during designated service hours:

If you are a AAA member, you may make a reservation now to renew your driver’s license/ID or conduct certain other transactions at a AAA location. Visit aaa.com/appointments to schedule your visit.

If you are not a AAA member, visit Mass.Gov/RMV to make a reservation to renew or conduct most other transactions at an RMV Service Center. Visit the Make/Cancel a Reservation transaction tab in the MyRMV Service Center and select “Senior Transaction” for all available RMV transactions. Reservations can be booked two weeks in advance.

Email the RMV for assistance: MassDOTRMVSeniors@dot.state.ma.us.

Call the RMV at 857-368-8005.

General appointments for license and ID renewals or registration and title transactions, as well as other essential in-person needs including drop-off registration and title services, are available to all customers at select locations throughout the business week.

Additional information on RMV service offerings and appointments can be found at www.Mass.Gov/RMV, including more than 40 transactions that can be conducted online, by mail, or by phone. The RMV recommends that all customers get ready online before their appointment.

Anyone conducting in-person business at an RMV customer service location must wear a face-covering and will continue to be served by appointment only. Appointments for many RMV transactions can also be made at AAA customer locations if the customer is a member of AAA.


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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The swearing-in of a President is always an important day in American history. Today, we inaugurate a new President and Vice President and I wish Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, our nation's first woman and first Asian and African American to serve in that position, the very best in healing the divisions in our country and leading us to a state of good public health and greater prosperity. 

 


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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Launches COVID-19 Vaccine CDC Pharmacy Partnership - Phase 1, Expands Vaccine Locations & Names Fenway Park as Mass Vaccination Site Command Center Announces New Vaccine Sites to Administer Several Thousands More Shots Per Week Statewide

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the expansion of more vaccine locations in each region of the Commonwealth at pharmacies, health care providers and a second mass vaccination site to boost the capacity to administer vaccines per week by the thousands. The Commonwealth will continue to add more vaccination sites throughout Massachusetts. Information on available sites will be available on a rolling basis here - https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-individuals-currently-eligible-to-be-vaccinated

First, the Administration announced that Massachusetts will become one of the first states in the nation to launch the COVID-19 CDC Pharmacy Partnership - Phase 1 with CVS Health and Walgreens pharmacies located throughout the Commonwealth. Starting this week, this program will deliver a total of 10,000 doses to at least 15 CVS Health and Walgreens pharmacies a week for eligible residents in the Phase One priority groups.

Second, the Administration announced that Fenway Park will become the state’s second mass vaccination site, joining Gillette Stadium. The ballpark will open on February 1st to start administering up to 500 vaccines per day to eligible residents in the Phase One priority groups.

Next, the Administration also announced that UMass Amherst will expand their vaccination site to provide inoculations for eligible residents in Phase One priority groups. UMass Amherst has been providing vaccines to first responders, and plans to now offer vaccines to all eligible residents in Phase One priority groups immediately.

Finally, to increase vaccine access for Phase 1 eligible priority groups, the Baker-Polito Administration is launching the Hospital Depot Initiative. This new program will facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccine for independent physician practices prioritized under Phase 1.

Current eligible groups under Phase 1 include: Clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care; Long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities; First responders (EMS, Fire, Police); and Congregate care settings (including corrections and shelters).

CDC Pharmacy Partnership - Phase 1

Massachusetts will be among the first states to activate retail pharmacy vaccination at scale through select CVS Health and Walgreens, which will start inoculating eligible residents in Phase One priority groups by appointment.

Starting this week, at least 15 CVS Health and Walgreens, located in areas of the state where there is currently less access to convenient vaccine sites, will receive a total of 10,000 vaccines to administer this week. The first 15 locations are located in Greenfield, Fall River, Salem, South Yarmouth, Pittsfield, Lee, Holden, Gardner, Hyannis, Mashpee, Somerset, Fairhaven, Haverhill, Saugus and Danvers. Eligible residents in Phase One priority groups can view sites and book an appointment today by clicking here. Approximately 40 vaccination sites will be added the week of 1/25 through current partners and collaboration with additional partners (Wegmans, Big Y, Price Chopper, Stop & Shop, Hannaford). Massachusetts expects to increase vaccine volume through retail pharmacies in the coming weeks. The Command Center will provide more details as pharmacy partners and sites come online.

Fenway Park Named as Second Mass Vaccination Site

Fenway Park will be the state’s second mass vaccination site and will open on February 1st. Initially, the ballpark is scheduled to administer 500 vaccines per day by appointment and will ramp up to providing 1,000 vaccines per day soon to eligible residents in Phase One priority groups. CIC Health will operate the site, with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, as the medical director.

The site is expected to stay open through the beginning of baseball season in early April. The Command Center is also working with the City of Boston to identify and set up a longer-term vaccine site in Boston.

Last week, the Administration announced Gillette Stadium as the first mass vaccination site, which opened for eligible Phase One groups yesterday. This week, the site is expected to work up to administering over 1,000 vaccinations per day, and soon after, 5,000 vaccinations per day. Eligible residents in Phase 1 priority groups can book an appointment at Gillette Stadium by clicking here. The Command Center is finalizing plans for several other mass vaccination sites.

UMass Vaccination Site Expansion

Beginning today, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has expanded their role to administer COVID-19 vaccines, providing vaccinations for all eligible groups in Phase One of the state’s distribution plan. This high capacity site will serve eligible groups in the Western Mass area. Appointments for the UMass Amherst vaccination site can be booked here.

Hospital Depot Initiative

To increase vaccine access for residents in eligible Phase 1 priority groups, the Baker-Polito Administration is launching the Hospital Depot Initiative. This new program will facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines for independent COVID-facing physician practices prioritized under Phase 1. The Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center and DPH, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) and Mass General Brigham (MGB), is managing this initiative starting with COVID-facing health care workers. Under this initiative, hospitals serving each region of the state have been identified as a depot to assist the Commonwealth with its vaccination distribution efforts. For clinical practices that are unable, due to their staff size and storage capacity, to receive larger, direct allocations of vaccine, a depot hospital will receive doses on their behalf and redistribute vaccine and all ancillary materials for office-based vaccination. In some cases, the hospital will provide direct vaccination to health care workers. The Massachusetts Medical Society is managing communications and coordination with physician practices.

Participating hospitals include:

Mass General Brigham, Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Brockton Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Baystate Medical Center and Berkshire Medical Center.


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