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Gov. Baker: No plan to implement ‘shelter in place,’ $5M allotted to help communities fight coronavirus

This content collected from Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News.

BOSTON (WHDH) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that residents will not be asked to “shelter in place” as part of the state’s ongoing effort to combat the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus. He also announced emergency initiatives to help healthcare officials in their fight against the pandemic.

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“It’s an understatement to say that we are in uncharted waters,” Baker said at news conference at the State House. “We have taken unprecedented and strong action, and I want to address the ongoing rumors about a possible order to shelter in place. I spoke about this before, but let me be clear, we are not planning any shelter in place orders.”

Baker urged all citizens to bookmark the state’s official COVID-19 website for updates so false rumors on the virus are not passed around. He also urged all residents, age aside, to follow only the best medical practices to slow the spread of the virus so healthcare professionals will be in a position to assist those who are in critical need.

Baker also announced new initiatives to combat the virus, including a payment of $5 million in emergency funds that will be distributed to local boards of health across the Bay State.

“I signed this appropriation into law after it was allotted by the Legislature at the end of last week to address the immediate needs of our community health boards,” Baker said. “Most of the money will go directly to our cities and towns to help them respond to this public health emergency.”

In addition to signing the appropriation, Baker approved two emergency orders to expedite the onboarding of more licensed healthcare professionals in Massachusetts.

The orders will make it easier for licensed healthcare staff, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and respiratory technicians to work at additional licensed facilities, according to Baker.

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“These orders will cut red tape so hospitals can staff up faster,” Baker said.

Out-of-state licensed physicians will be allowed to practice in Massachusetts and retired physicians will be allowed to reactivate their license, Baker added.

“This is all about helping to expand our healthcare delivery capacity,” Baker said.

Baker’s orders will also facilitate telehealth across state lines and increase EMS staffing and capacity.

On Monday, Baker announced a $10 million small business recovery loan fund to help companies struggling because of efforts to slow the pandemic.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Mary Lou Sudders said at the press conference that the state now has the ability to test 400 people for coronavirus each day.

From now on, all presumptive coronavirus cases are being considered positive and state lab results will be considered official, Sudders added. Previous guidelines required the CDC to confirm all test results.

Baker ordered all bars and restaurants to stop dine-in service starting Tuesday through April 5.

Gatherings of more than 25 people have also been banned. Schools across the state will remain closed until further notice.

Grocery stores and pharmacies are allowed to remain open at this time.

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There are 218 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts, according to health officials.

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from Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News
Source: https://whdh.com/news/gov-baker-no-plan-to-implement-shelter-in-place-5m-allotted-to-help-communities-fight-coronavirus/

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