April 17, 2020
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ACTIONS
White House coronavirus resources:
Coronavirus Guidelines for America: On Tuesday, March 31, the White House announced updated Coronavirus Guidelines for America (Español), extending social distancing efforts through April 30. On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance recommending individuals wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies, particularly in areas of significant community-based transmission. On April 8, CDC also provided guidelines regarding when people in critical infrastructure roles can return to work after being exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Additional information on critical infrastructure below.
Up-To-Date Information: The most up-to-date, verified information and guidance can be found via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 website – www.coronavirus.gov.
COVID-19 Response and Recovery Primer: Response and recovery efforts are locally executed, state managed, and federally supported. It is important that requests for assistance, including for critical supplies, get routed through the proper channels as soon as possible. Learn more about the response and recovery process via this important resource – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Response and Recovery Through Federal-State-Local-Tribal Partnership. FEMA’s public assistance guidance for COVID-19 response efforts can be found here. Guidance for Tribal Governments can be found here.
Critical Infrastructure Workforce Guidelines: On March 16th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued updated critical infrastructure guidance in response to the COVID-19 emergency. DHS issued revised guidance on March 28th (see Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response here: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce). The guidance, and accompanying list, is intended to help State, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. The list is advisory in nature and is not a federal directive or standard.
COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide: USDA and Federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs can support recovery efforts for rural residents, businesses, and communities. USDA developed a resource guide for State, Local, and Tribal leaders, and other stakeholders, which can be found here: https://rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/USDA_COVID-19_Fed_Rural_Resource_Guide.pdf
Coronavirus Fact vs. Myth: Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. FEMA setup a website to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the coronavirus pandemic: https://www.fema.gov/coronavirus/rumor-control
Fraud & Scam Protection: The Department of Justice is remaining vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. Find out how you can protect yourself and helpful resources on DOJ’s Coronavirus Fraud Prevention website: https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus The Federal Trade Commission has also established a website with helpful information to help consumers avoid coronavirus-related scams here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/coronavirus-scams-what-ftc-doing
Download the Apple COVID-19 Screening Tool here: https://www.apple.com/covid19.
Mental Health Resources: Natural disasters – including such pandemics as the coronavirus outbreak – can be overwhelming and also can seriously affect emotional health. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 (or text TalkWithUs to 66746) – provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the Disaster Distress Helpline here: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline
Administration Actions and Federal Agency Resources: USA.gov is cataloging all U.S. government activities related to coronavirus. From actions on health and safety to travel, immigration, and transportation to education, find pertinent actions here: https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus
BAKER ADMINISTRATION ACTIONS
COVID-19 Public Resources Map:
MEMA, together with MA VOAD and other partners, has developed a COVID-19 Public Resources Map showing the location of resources available to the public, such as food banks, houses of worship, and Project Bread site locations. Please note that this map is not inclusive of all resources, and is only as accurate as the information that has been provided to MEMA.
The map can be accessed here: https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5867d881a9324121839605c56a3d7cc9
Massachusetts COVID-19 Response Dashboard:
MEMA has developed and maintains a public-facing COVID-19 ArcGIS Online dashboard, available here. This dashboard is continuously updated and captures information about current COVID 19 case counts, cases by age, cases by county, hospital status, hospital bed status, death tolls, and deaths by age. Users should refresh the dashboard on a daily basis as enhancements are continuously being added.
The response dashboard can be accessed here: https://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=9ef7ef55e4644af29e9ca07bfe6a509f
FAQs and reimbursement resources for homeless shelters:
The Administration has opened five state-operated isolation and recovery sites across the state to provide regional solutions for people experiencing homelessness that need a safe place to isolate and recover after testing positive for COVID-19. Statewide, these sites have a capacity of 550 beds and are staffed with 24/7 security and nursing staff, and are located in Everett, Lexington, Northampton, Pittsfield, and Taunton. These sites augment medical facilities at the Boston Hope field hospital and Newton Pavilion, which offer 732 respite beds for individuals who are homeless. As of April 15, over 160 people experiencing homelessness have been served by a state-operated Isolation and Recovery Site.
With the Administration’s support, communities across the Commonwealth are standing up quarantine sites to provide a safe place for homeless individuals who were exposed to COVID-19 but are not symptomatic. Exposed individuals quarantine for 14 days to ensure they do not develop symptoms of COVID-19. The Administration created an expedited process for homeless shelters and municipalities to request equipment and supplies for quarantine solutions, such as tents, beds, and portable showers.
Homeless shelters can learn about the process for requesting PPE and other FAQs here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/homeless-shelter-covid-19-faq/download
FEMA will reimburse 75% of municipality and non-profit organization costs associated with qualifying quarantine and isolation services for people experiencing homelessness. Massachusetts has established a dedicated portal to support municipalities and organizations through the grant application process, developing robust partnerships across the state to ensure all applicants are well-supported. As of April 15, 236 applicants have been processed and approved by MEMA.
Information on FEMA reimbursement and support can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/faq-for-cities-and-towns-regarding-fema-reimbursement-for-quarantineisolation-solutions-0/download
DCF monthly payment to foster families:
The Administration recognizes that as result of schools closing and closure of non-essential businesses, foster families are incurring increased costs. Foster parents are vital to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and its mission to keep children safe, as they care for some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children who have been abused and neglected.
To support foster parents providing departmental foster care, DCF will be making a $100 monthly payment for each child in placement on the 15th of April, May and June. Currently, on average, foster parents are reimbursed between $830 to $975 per child per month, depending on the age of the child in their care. This $100 additional payment represents a 10% – 12% increase over current reimbursements for foster parents. The relief will benefit the approximately 4,500 foster families who provide departmental foster care for 6,700 children. This includes unrestricted and kinship foster families.
Emergency order on establishing emergency childcare for COVID-19 positive children:
Governor Baker issued an emergency order authorizing the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to establish emergency sites for children and youth living in residential homes that have tested positive for COVID-19 and need to be cared for in quarantine or isolation.
Read the Order here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/april-16-2020-eec-order
Distribution Of PPE To All Emergency Responders In Massachusetts
The Baker-Polito Administration announced the distribution of approximately 200,000 respirator masks for all local law enforcement officers and firefighters to ensure they have the protective equipment during the COVID-19 crisis. These FDA-approved respirator masks will be distributed to all local law enforcement officers, including sheriffs and college and university police, and firefighters through a coordinated effort by the COVID-19 Response Command Center and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers are continuing to receive these types of masks and other PPE.
To facilitate quick distribution of these masks, MEMA is employing a regional point of distribution (POD) model where communities can pick up their supply of masks at their designated MEMA POD. These POD sites are open today and have already distributed tens of thousands of masks to first responders in the first few hours. This new distribution will ensure that local law enforcement and firefighters will have five respirator masks each, equivalent to a one month’s supply. Including conservation methods currently being used by some organizations, this will provide each individual a mask per week and a spare, allowing the mask to dry overnight and reuse for up to one week.