The White House is rejecting claims the federal government is about to order a nationwide coronavirus shutdown. On Friday, Acting Department of Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf tweeted that contrary to rumors of a national shutdown, DHS has no plan to order such. In his tweet he says the rumors aren't true, and is advising everyone to not pay attention to "disinformation campaigns," and recommends everyone "use trusted local and federal government sources." President Trump is now re-tweeting Wolf's comments.
In Massachusetts there are now more than 525 cases of Covid 19 in Massachusetts. The latest case comes out of Ludlow. In Connecticut there are 223 cases of the virus with three people overall dead.
Governor Baker has allowed up to 300 emergency child daycare centers to open in the state which will be solely for emergency personnel, doctors, police and firefighters among others.
10 of the 300 Exempt Emergency Child Care Centers are in Springfield.
2 in Longmeadow. 3 in Holyoke. Two in Feeding Hills. Now the emergency centers are primarily designed for emergency personnel, healthcare and social workers and the like. It is not designed for a replacement for your normal child care.
Ludlow officials have gone further when they say that people who leave their homes are putting themselves at risk.
In Holyoke, Mayor Alex Morse has ordered the closing of all barber shops and nail salons in the city in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
Chicopee and Agawam have similar orders in place as of Monday.
Springfield does not have such a mandate although the Mayor, Dom Sarno has asked those facilities to close in the name of public safety.
Meantime, there has been a great need for supplies for the medical community that are on the front line dealing with the virus. In Springfield, Dakin Humane Society donated its in-house quantity of disposable surgical gowns and booties, along with other personal protective equipment (PPE) to help Baystate Medical Center in its efforts to curb the effects of COVID-19.
Dakin's Director of Operations Karina King stated, "We've seen news stories about the need for protective equipment being faced by those in human health care, so we reached out to Baystate Medical Center because they're local.
The Senate plans to vote at 3pm today Eastern time on a stimulus package to help the economy during the pandemic. Democrats and Republicans were still negotiating on Saturday, but had agreed to a general outline of what the package will look like.
In Massachusetts, the State Senate will vote on Monday to delay the Special Elections in Hampden/Hampshire and Barnstable/Plymouth counties. Both regions had State Senators leave the legislature this year. According to the latest from Beacon Hill, there is not yet a date specific for the rescheduled elections. They were both planned for March 31st. City Clerks had questioned whether it was a good idea to hold such an election while others wondered how they were going to keep voting booths clean for an entire day.
All TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods stores in western Massachusetts and elsewhere are now closed for two weeks because of the coronavirus. Massachusetts-based parent company TJX is also stopping online shopping. The company says the decision to close is part of the effort to slow the spread of the virus.
The Massachusetts National Guard is now activated to assist with the state's response to the coronavirus. Up to two-thousand troops statewide will support requests from state agencies for equipment, logistics and warehousing. Governor Charlie Baker says activating the Guard will help keep residents safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Governor says that there will be some infrastructure creation for the National Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers in the state as well.
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