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tv   Massachusetts Gov. Baker Holds Coronavirus Briefing  CSPAN  December 22, 2020 1:14pm-1:57pm EST

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gov. baker: today, we are going to detail additional measures we are taking in the commonwealth. i want to give a detail -- update on our covid numbers. over 60 1000 tests. 1991 patients currently being treated in hospitals in massachusetts. 410 patients in the icu. this fall, when massachusetts started to see an increase in
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infections, the commonwealth responded accordingly. we deployed teams in nursing homes. we rollback the reopening process. we issued a new stay-at-home advisory, and we strengthened our face covering mandate. we restricted what types of procedures hospitals could perform and worked with them to increase their capacity and opened up two field hospitals. we also outlined guidance to urge folks for just this year to celebrate the holiday season with those in their immediate household. if they plan to do anything other than that, to follow the maintain where, distance, don't share food, wash that inds, and remember many respects come with the people you are safest with especially during the season are going to be the people you live with every day. at thed, those steps
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time helped our hospital system add hundreds of beds. in november, these steps were effective in stopping the growth of new infections but unfortunately, that growth was temporary. infections and hospitalizations skyrocketed and since then, we have seen that increase slow down slightly, but certainly not enough. before thanksgiving, our hospital beds were 60% percent occupied. by december 15, that was up to 83% occupied and we have only recovered one percentage point since then. our hospitals are now under significant pressure and we are heading toward another time when we are likely to see another significant increase in cases and hospitalizations unless everybody plays a different game than the one we all played thanksgiving.
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we think it's appropriate to take action now to slow the spread and we must do so in a way that will avoid overrunning the hospital system. we are announcing new statewide restrictions that will be in place for at least two weeks starting saturday, december 26. to ourill be in addition existing orders including the stay-at-home advisory, face mask requirements, and early closures already in place. together, the intent of these restrictions will be to pause activity and reduced mobility, so we can reduce the spread of the virus without closing our schools or businesses. affective saturday, december 26, capacity limits will be lowered to 25% for most industries and the lieutenant governor will talk more about the details shortly. outdoornd outgroup --
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limits will be reduced. dos is part of what we must during this critical time when the vaccine is just a few months away to slow the spread. agree to do the things that slow the spread over the next two weeks, that will help us work on building the bridge we all need to build to the vaccine. nothing we are announcing today affects k-12 education. datae science and medical has made clear, all school districts even those with high infection rates can and should ring students back to the classroom. these measures today will help districts bring students back soon. the decision to restrict capacity at so many businesses
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is an enormously difficult decision. we all know that these decisions carry very negative ramifications of people's livelihoods and their families. the economic package that was passed by congress will go a long way in addressing some of the financial damage these restrictions will have for individuals, families, and businesses. we also know that more help is needed for businesses that are struggling to keep their lights on and our administration is putting together a significant economic relief fund to the commonwealth small businesses that will be most negatively affected by these decisions. we will present the details on this package tomorrow. saying we ally know that covid-19 is relentless. some people become very sick. others have lost their lives.
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is a mild or nonevent. hard year for our employers and thousands of their workers and families. it has been a hard year for everyone as we try our best to stay apart and to cancel important milestones and celebrations and change the way we celebrate almost everything we do. christmas is obviously a few days away. in the heart of the holiday season and it is normally a time for joy, gathering, and relaxing and hanging around with those we love. this year obviously is different. we all need to hang in there, stay vigilant, and recognize and understand that the work we do now has a lot to do with the kind of bridge we build to get to the vaccine.
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26,000 clinical and nonclinical workers in our health care settings have already received their first dose. moderna bank received its authorization last week and the first shipment arrived yesterday with more being delivered today and tomorrow. to get theobust plan vaccine to people as quickly as possible. dose vaccinating almost 7 million people will take time. in the coming weeks and months, we need to bear down on the virus and keep practicing the prevention that so many have delivered on for months just a little longer. wear a face covering, avoid groups, stay-at-home except if you need to go to work and school. do all you can if you are not going to be with the people you live with to take proper precautions. this will help us all get through the next push and will
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help suppress the virus and make sure that our health care system can withstand the surge and continue to serve the many people who need it to be there for them who aren't dealing with covid. it will also help us keep our schools and our communities open. messages are hard to deliver and believe me, they are hard to hear. we have a full confidence that the people of this state will dig deep and come together in the final stages of this terrible pandemic. with that, i will turn it over to the lieutenant governor. >> thank you, governor. the decisions we have had to make throughout the pandemic have been incredibly difficult. we note that they have resulted in hardship and difficult times
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for business owners, operators, businesses of all sizes and all places across the commonwealth. for the last 10 months, the downtowns and small businesses have remained top of our minds. small business owners have been patient and committed to the safety protocols and standards that we put in place to protect workers and customers and to help us get the economy moving again. we are grateful and we are thankful for all that you have done throughout this pandemic. we know it has been a sacrifice, and it has been a ton of hard work. aree businesses and workers our friends, neighbors, we know them well. they need our help now more than ever. , tough timesfore don't last, but tough people do.
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these times have been incredibly tough, but we will get through it and we will get through this together. we will get through this together. go into moreto detail on the capacity and gathering guidance we are issuing. the restrictions we are putting in place will be in place for at least two weeks. it is our goal to keep these measures temporary. capacity limits will be lowered to 25% for most industries. restaurants and personal services, theaters and performance venues, casinos, office spaces, places of worship , retail, driving and flight schools, golf facilities for indoor spaces, libraries, areas, for common arcades, fitness centers and health clubs, museums, cultural
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facilities, and guided tours. counts and staff will not toward the occupancy count for restaurants, personal services, places of worship, and retail businesses such as grocery stores. again, workers and staff will not count toward the occupancy count for restaurants, personal services, places of worship, and retail businesses such as grocery stores. all other rules and restrictions will remain in place. gathering outdoor limits will be reduced to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors. -- apply to private homes and event
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venues and public spaces. specifically about state funding that will be made available to small businesses to help keep the lights on, to pay the bills, to meet your payroll. as we get into the holiday week, -- we will do more than think about in the days leading up to the holidays buying gift cards from restaurants and local shops. plan on take-out meals, do whatever you can to help support the small businesses, local restaurants, local retail, places that are familiar to you. go visit them and do your part as you have been doing. so we can all continue to see these businesses through these challenging weeks ahead and see them on the others. i know this pandemic has been hard for everyone.
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there is light at the end of the tunnel. vaccines are here. thousands of massachusetts thankfully have already received their first dose. let's dig in a little bit further. we will continue to do our part to fight the pandemic just a little longer. better,now there are brighter, and healthier days ahead. with that, i would like to turn it over to secretary souders. >> december 26, all hospitals must cancel all elective
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postponementless would lead to significant decline for individuals. hospitals should not schedule any new elective procedures. non-essential elective invasive seizures are those that are scheduled in advance because the procedure does not involve a medical emergency and where delay will not adversely affect an individual's health. we are not shutting down health care. ambulatory outpatient preventive procedures including mammograms and cancer screenings are not impacted. inpatient and emergency services remain open. stepke this important next to improve capacity including staffing to redeploy staff as necessary and to prepare for flex surge capacity as they did. guidance that
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will guide this on a case-by-case basis. we must ensure that our health care system can meet any acute demand for our residents. our health care response to ensure sufficient capacity has been standing up field hospitals or alternate care sites. they provide care for covid-19 patients. hospital has 26 patients with a staff capacity of 50 beds. treatedening, they have and discharged 100 patients with an average stay of just under four days. the facility has been designed in units which can be stood up independently. in the coming weeks, the second
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field hospital will open and except -- accept patients. all staffing plans are flexible and we can modify them as needed. these sites provide top-notch care. out fortill calling recruiting staff for lowell. i am particularly calling out for nurses and patient care associates to apply for this important work. there will be no daily dashboard published this friday or next friday. both daily dashboard will be published the following saturday.
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-- the firstnt vaccine dashboard will be published this thursday. >> thank you. in october, we announced our plan known as partnerships for recovery to stabilize and growth the massachusetts economy. we continue to implement the plan. part of the plan was yesterday's small business grant announcement. the $49 million in grants will benefit 1158 small businesses. who can use these funds to pay their employees and to cover rent and utility payments. a starkgram also offers
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view of the challenges facing small businesses. we received over 10,000 applications for the program. while we were pleased to award the $49 million, that was just 10% of the money requested. ofappreciate the sacrifices our small businesses and we recognize the need that remains as our virus surges and people stay home. our reopening strategy has always been led by public health metrics and that is why today's new statewide restrictions are necessary. soon, we will be connecting our cities and towns that apply to our local rapid recovery planning program with teams of experts who will help them create effective strategies to stabilize business districts. the programs will continue to put funding toward helping communities adjust their
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commercial districts. where there is a need, we continue to look for ways to direct resources rated. our economic recovery bill is a key piece of work including millions of dollars for small businesses as well as important support for new housing construction and emerging innovation sectors. we are working to craft a new state fund that will bring additional relief to our struggling small businesses and that in turn aids the families that operate them and the families that empower them. the hope is to deliver funding that meets this moment, is tailored to our local needs. gov. baker: questions? >> [indiscernible]
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gov. baker: a couple things with respect to limited capacity. there are a number of studies that show that if you limit capacity, take it down significantly, you do limit the number of infections that typically take place inside those organizations. weare sending a message that would like to see people spend between couple of weeks christmas and the week after new just with those they live with. if you need to go out and do something, go out, get it done, and come home.
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before thanksgiving, there were a whole series of metrics about travel. seven days after thanksgiving, case counsel basically doubled in massachusetts. in the conversations we have every day with the hospital communication -- community generally, you had the heads of a number of hospitals saying they could see the intergenerational transmission that was taking place. the average age was going up where it hadn't for months.
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theme point where many of were back to the place where the average age of their inpatient population is now what it was back in the spring. transmissionhe from the kid who came home from to the delivering it senior members of his family. the most important thing we want out of this is to make clear to with the best and most safe thing we can do for a few as much timepend with those we live with as treat thend to not time between christmas and new year's the way we normally do.
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which is a constant race to catch up with all the people you haven't seen since the last time you saw them last year. we all get the fact that that is a tough message. it is the right message for the moment. we know what this means for our small businesses. that's why we will be back here tomorrow with a plan for them. >> [indiscernible] gov. baker: the main reason picked the day after christmas is we know that many people hopefully will participate in a
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faith service of some kind safely on christmas eve or christmas day. it is perfectly possible to do that safely. that -- help people people would follow the rules, follow the guidance and do things that we talked about if they choose to do that. public health experts, mayors have been calling on you to do this sort of thing. what changed your mind? gov. baker: nothing changed my mind. i just pay attention to the data. here,espect to the data we started to see a downturn of oure put some original restrictions in place in early november, then seven days after thanksgiving after all of the messaging and
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commentary -- for peopleimportant to try to spend holiday and the days around it with the people in their household. seven days later, we saw a big bump in positive cases than the hospitalizations that came after and a significant increase in the age of the people showing up hospital. the highlight of the transmission between younger people and older people. coming up to the second big holiday season, begins important to say people need to spend this in a very conservative, care shows -- careful, cautious way.
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we think that reducing occupancy in25% will encompass that any of this laces that abide by the rules because it will dramatically reduce the number of people in those places at any one time. signaly, it sends a loud that people need to take this seriously. >> [indiscernible] i'm not sure i would've expected that at the end of the day, we could drive people away from coming home who were planning to come anyway. but we have rules associated with that, associated with quarantining or getting a negative test either 72 years before you leave or 72 hours after you get here.
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for theitical important next couple of weeks that people don't do a lot of the things that they would typically do when they come home. or when they celebrate the half -- holiday. a lot of people don't work the week between christmas and new year's. schools are in the week between christmas and new year's. there is a tremendous amount of the kind of activity that can have a very powerful and significant impact on case counts and ultimately hospitalizations that would normally take place. we are doing everything we possibly can to limit a lot of that and to make clear to the people of massachusetts about why it is important given what just happened in the aftermath thanksgiving. why are casinos still closed? gov. baker: 25% capacity.
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they are basically managed and the rules they are operating under inc. by the gaming commission. i believe the 25% limit will have a significant impact on the number of people on site, provide a lot of distance between the participants, and they do follow extraordinarily aggressive safety protocols and they still have to close at the same time everybody else has to close which is 9:30. >> [indiscernible] [laughter] you might have to repeat a few of them. let me give you a quick update
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on vaccines then you can tell me what i forgot inner questions. have 120,000, we moderna and most have been allocated. on hundred 16,000 doses have been distributed from yesterday to wednesday. that is terrific news. doses were also distributed. next week starting the 28, the pharmacy care partnership starts. that is -- the communication is tom walgreens or cvs facilities. for the two soldiers homes, there has been outreach to family members who are like the guardian that does require consent. the good news was walgreens and
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cvs modified the consent requirements so the guardian could also call the home and the staff to fill out the consent as a verbal consent as well. those started going out yesterday. see skilledxpect to nursing facilities in massachusetts vaccinated. what were the rest of your questions? >> [indiscernible] we cohort patients accordingly. obviously, it stops, we stopped visitation, but we would not stop vaccination of staff residents. again, it is voluntary and the good news is walgreens and cvs help serve -- still have the original consent form, then a short modified form. again, families can call and we can fill out the form for them
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to try to expedite the process. >> are you still expecting on her 20,000 doses of the moderna vaccine? know, one her 20,000 doses appeared and we have allocated -- all of them and 3900 but 3900 have been allocated. yesterday, today and tomorrow. >> [indiscernible] gov. baker: at the end of the day, our view is based on the data we saw. you get down below 30%, and you have a significant impact on infection rates generally. businesses, the pure
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closure of the operation requires shutting all kinds of things down that are hard to start up again at some point later on. as the lieutenant governor said, this is deemed to be a temporary move to deal with a particular and specific issue associated with what would be the typical approach that most people would take to that time between christmas and new year's. we will see where the data is and what it says with respect to whether it goes longer than this. this is a much more appropriate way to deal with it and to lock everything down and tell everybody to stay home. >> [indiscernible] gov. baker: there is an advisory group was set up by the command center to review the decision-making.
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several of the members came and presented here when we originally went forward with our proposal. they currently have the cdc recommendations that they made and we expect to hear from them this week on that. >> usually, you look at three weeks of data to make a decision. i am curious why -- [indiscernible] gov. baker: we do usually look at three weeks of data. we have seen a leveling off of the case trend. the holiday is upon us. view, the lookof in the rearview mirror at the impact that thanksgiving had made it important for us to put a message out and guidance arrivalout prior to the of the next holiday break, which is of course the time between christmas and new year's. >> [indiscernible]
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we sent back to the legislature, we filed the first police reform bill. i think many of you were in the room when we did that in june. with members of the black and latino legislative caucus. legislature to the a bill that represented what we would sign. subsequent to that, we had conversations with the caucus and they raised concerns with a number of issues that we made adjustments on based on those conversations with them which we then shared with the house and senate. the senate, as i understand it, adopted the changes that we made based on the conversations we had with the caucus and some of the folks in the senate. that legislation travels through the process and comes back to our desk, as we believe it left the senate, we would sign that.
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>> [indiscernible] gov. baker: what i can tell you is that i know the average answer at the department of unemployment is. it is under one minute. if you say to me there are people who can't get through, i have a really hard time reconciling that with the information, the data we get from the dua on a pretty regular basis. what i have said which i will repeat is that if people can't get through to the dua, they can call my office, call our constituent service office which many people have over the course of the past month or so, and they will make sure they find a way to resolve whatever the
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question is. i will also point out that in many cases, when we dig into these, and i follow every single one of them up that ends up coming through my office, the overwhelming number of issues that we run into is people don't accurately fill out the application in the first place. important itss how is, if people are having trouble getting their claim processed, that they talk to their employer and they make sure that the information they submitted is consistent with the way their employer is actually accounted for in that system. your unemployment application when you file it. it is also an unemployment application if you are filing under the traditional system, it is an unemployment application that will booked against your
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employer, which is why it is so important that both of those things sync up in the system. system -- ifoyment you are filing under the pua program which is for self employed people who don't work for an employer, that's different. if you are filing under the , thetional ui program employer name that you entered needs to be the same one that the unemployment insurance system believes you work for in the system so that those two things link up. >> [indiscernible]
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gov. baker: i would like to wait and see what gets to me before i make these decisions. i will make an exception with respect to the police bill because we have had a series of very complicated negotiations and discussions with a lot of different people and i think it is important for us to make absolutely clear about where we believe we are on that issue at this point in time. the other one, i will wait until it gets to my desk. >> thank you, everyone. [indiscernible] gov. baker: i think i can answer this one. we believe that the program we are going to come talk to you about tomorrow is very significant for estate based program for small businesses and those affected by the 25%
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capacity limit. million economic plan that we announced earlier this fall is dwarfed by the fact that in massachusetts alone, businesses acquired $13 billion in ppp loans. the numbers the feds are talking about in their current package for small business support of one kind or another nationwide is $325 billion. the number of zeros they play with his profoundly different than the number of zeros we play with. let's get back to the unemployment piece for a minute. the pua program that is important to people who don't actually collect unemployment through the traditional system, this was put together specifically to do with the pandemic for self-employed individuals, that thing ended on
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1231 until that stimulus package got past. unemployment insurance for many people who participate in the traditional program, they run through their weeks and it was going to end for them on december 31. respects, i said this before will be talked about the possibility of the feds implementing a stimulus before the end of the year, there's a lot of important support in their for people who are out of work or who may be out of work going forward for small businesses of every shape and size. and for additional money for additional money to support the administration of the vaccine rollout, additional resources to support until assistance during what is a tough time. the legislature has done great work on that. which we really appreciated to expand the size and scale of the program which is our primary
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tool through which we support mental assistance. -- rental assistance. when the feds's command, the resources that come with those make a big difference in terms of our ability to leverage what toolsuch bigger set of than the ones we typically have available at the state level, which is why it was so important for them to get that done by the end of the year. >> thank you, everyone. ♪ >> you are watching c-span, your byiltered span was created america's cable television companies in 1979. today, we are brought to you by these television companies who provide c-span2 viewers as a public service.
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♪ coming up this afternoon, joe biden delivers >>. remarks about the upcoming holiday season. c-spanng up tonight on at 8 p.m., a look at the political career of lamar alexander. on c-span two book tvc year in review features books about science starting at 8 p.m. with physics professors on the origins and future of the cosmos. marking theprograms anniversary of the mayflower's trip from plymouth, england in 1620 starting with discussion on the mayflower compact. at 8is tonight starting p.m..


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