Gov. Baker addresses COVID-19 concerns at stops in western Mass. | News


After visiting the Big E, he went to a tree planting in Westfield.

WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Governor Charlie Baker making multiple stops in western Mass. Thursday.

After visiting the Big E, he went to a tree planting in Westfield.

While many people consider the pandemic to be mostly in the rearview mirror, Massachusetts has had more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths since March of 2020.

We asked the governor about the new challenges ahead and some of the ongoing problems left in the virus’s wake.

A lot of discussions are taking place on the national stage over who gets a COVID booster shot and when.

The CDC deciding Thursday to authorize Pfizer booster shots for adults 65 and older, as well as people in long-term care facilities. They voted separately in favor of boosters for those with underlying medical conditions that put them at severe risk for serious illness.

We asked the governor how this factors into the October 17 vaccine mandate for state employees.

“It’s probably going to be mostly for healthcare workers, folks in long-term care and assisted living and congregate care, people who are immunocompromised and there will be some folks in public sector when we think of the traditional the public sector, first responders, those kind of folks, but I don’t anticipate that we’ll have any trouble meeting the need,” Baker said.

This comes as his secretary of health and human services, MaryLou Sudders, has been added to a lawsuit in federal court over the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of veterans who died in the 2020 outbreak accuses Sudders of turning a blind eye to the spreading virus that would kill more than 75 residents.

Sudders is the only defendant in that lawsuit who hasn’t resigned or been let go from their role.

Baker Thursday said he would not comment on pending litigation so, we asked Senator John Velis, who has been a big supporter of reforming the home, about holding officials accountable.

“There is that process going forward right now. We’ll wait and see what happens with the lawsuit, but my concern, my exclusive concern right now, is ensuring something like this never happens again,” Velis said.

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