Governor Baker to hold COVID-19 update


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BOSTON, (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker held a news conference Tuesday offering an update on COVID-19 in the state and discussing measures to support the healthcare system.

Governor Baker was joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. The Baker Adminsitration Tuesday reinforced thier policy regarding vaccines, boosters, and masks. Baker in questions following his statement, reiterated his stance to keep children enrolled in in-peron schooling, and to not issue a mask mandate.

Bringing in the National Guard

In addition to the infromation mentioned above, Governor Baker announced Tuesday his decision to utilize the state’s National Guard. Up to 500 members of the Massachusetts National Guard will be called to address the non-clinical support needs of hospitals and transport systems. Up to 300 of these Guard members will begin training this week and will support 55 acute care hospitals, and 12 ambulance service providers across the Commonwealth.

Accordsing to a statement sent to WWLP by the Governor’s Office, the Department of Public Health has surveyed all hospitals and ambulance service providers in the state to identify five key roles that non-clinical Guard personnel can serve in support hospital operations. These points are:

  • Non-emergency transport between facilities: driving ambulances used to transfer patients between two healthcare locations such as when patients are discharged from a hospital and transferred to a long term care facility. 
  • Patient observers: providing continuous or frequent observation of a patient who is at risk for harm to themselves.  
  • Security support: helping to maintain a safe workplace.
  • In-hospital transport: bringing patients via wheelchair or, if needed, stretcher, from their patient room to tests such as x-ray or CT scan, or from the emergency department to their inpatient floor. 
  • Food service/tray delivery support: delivering patient meals to their rooms

The Massachusetts National Guard will be deployed to the field beginning December 27th, 2021.

Mask Advisory

DPH, in that same statement sent to WWLP, released an updated mask advisory. The advisory recommends that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering in indoor, public spaces. This adivosry does not impact prexisting mandates or lack there of. Governor Baker has stated that he has no interest in enacting a mask mandate due to the other resources availible at this time.

Elective Surgery Guidance

DPH has also released updated guidance to hospitals concerning nonessential, elective invasive procedures. To preserve health care personnel resources, effective 12:01am on December 27th, all hospitals are directed to postpone or cancel all nonessential elective procedures.

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