Apr 8, 2020
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 8
Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker’s coronavirus press conference from April 8. Read the full transcript here.
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Charlie Baker: (00:00)
65 new cases being reported yesterday. As we’ve said before, through extensive modeling with our command centers, medical advisory committee and public health experts, we expect to see a surge in cases that could financially be sometime between April 10 and April 20th. We’re continuing reviewing the modeling, but right now we see evidence that we’re still on the upward slope of this pandemic.
Charlie Baker: (00:26)
For example, the average new positive tests in Massachusetts has been rising steadily for three weeks. The percent of people testing positive continues to rise and reached a new high on Monday, where about 30% of all tests conducted were positive and remained high on Tuesday where about 28% of all tests conducted were positive and obviously we have unfortunately seen continued fatalities associated with this virus.
Charlie Baker: (00:58)
At the same time, we’ve not seen the same steep acceleration seen in either Wuhan, New York or other places, which means we’re cautiously optimistic that our social distancing, essential services orders, and other measures that we and others have put in place are helping to flatten the curve.
Charlie Baker: (01:17)
These remain, and I’ll say it again, our most effective weapons to contain the disease and we’re grateful to all of the commonwealth residents for doing their part, by following them. But as I said before, this is not a time to get complacent. In fact, it means the opposite. We are entering a period of time where we could be putting serious strain on our healthcare system and our hospitals, so everyone needs to continue to hold up their end of the deal.
Charlie Baker: (01:45)
Stay home, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, wipe surfaces, clean off commonly used elements like doorknobs, and stand at least six feet apart and wear a masks or cover your face if you have to go out. And this isn’t just about protecting yourself. Continue to remember that. It’s also about protecting the people who need the most protection, older people and those with health conditions.
Charlie Baker: (02:17)
We’re also taking additional action today to further protect our healthcare workers and our healthcare providers. Federal and state law provides certain protections for healthcare workers and especially volunteers against lawsuits and civil liability. But during this pandemic, we’re in unprecedented times where our providers may be forced to make difficult choices and we’re asking them to operate in conditions that they’d never planned for.
Charlie Baker: (02:43)
We need to make sure that fear of getting sued doesn’t prevent them from being able to do what they need to do to treat as many people as possible. First, I’m issuing a directive that will maximize protection for healthcare workers and healthcare facilities under the Federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act or the Prep Act.
Charlie Baker: (03:04)
The Federal Prep Act on its own provides significant protections for our healthcare workers. The directive that I’m issuing will ensure that health care workers and facilities that distribute and administer testing, drugs, and medical devices for this diagnostic and for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 are protected from lawsuits and liability to the maximum extent possible under the Prep Act.
Charlie Baker: (03:31)
But the Prep Act does not cover all the situations our healthcare workforce may encounter and it needs to be protected from during this particular pandemic. Because it’s limited in some ways to certain aspects of the COVID-19 response. It doesn’t cover everything we believe needs to be covered. That’s why we worked with the Attorney General’s Office, with many folks in the healthcare advocacy and ethical community, with hospitals, and the mass medical society to create additional protections in the bill that we filed earlier today.
Charlie Baker: (04:05)
The legislation would protect healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses and EMTs as well as healthcare facilities from liability and lawsuits when the care they provide is impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. It would also provide liability protections, for the organizations that have generously made their facilities available for the commonwealth and for many of our providers to use in response to this pandemic.
Charlie Baker: (04:34)
We speak with leaders and doctors from Massachusetts hospitals and healthcare organizations just about every morning and they are stepping up in a big way during this crisis and this bill will make sure that they are free to do their jobs the best they can in this unprecedented situation. And again, I want to thank the Attorney General, Maura Healey and her team for their help in crafting this legislation and we urge the legislature to move quickly on this bill.
Charlie Baker: (05:03)
I also want to touch on the emergency guidelines, the Department of Public Health put together for medical providers in preparation for the surge in cases we are expecting. As in any large scale crisis situation, a larger number of patients can stress hospitals, staff, equipment and supplies to the breaking point. It’s hard to believe that we’re in a period where hospitals might have to make difficult decisions about how to distribute resources like ventilators but that’s the worst case scenario and we must plan for it.
Charlie Baker: (05:38)
While we’re doing, everything we can to ensure that we have all the resources we need, we must also plan for the possibility that the virus hits too many people in too short a period of time. In the worst case scenario, our Department of Public Health jointly developed guidelines for hospitals in conjunction with ethicists, public health experts, and medical professionals to ensure, to ensure that no one’s background, social standing or disability is ever considered if such a decision has to be made.
Charlie Baker: (06:11)
These are not conversations that anybody ever wants to have, but over the past few weeks we heard from many within the healthcare community on the need to issue recommendations on how to equitably and ethically allocate healthcare resources across the system. In these unprecedented times, every state and many individual hospitals are coming up with what are called crisis standards of care and today Massachusetts is releasing its recommendations.
Charlie Baker: (06:42)
They are in fact just recommendations. They’re not mandatory, but we have a moral obligation to ensure that there are transparent and ethical guidelines available to our medical professionals that they have to make these excruciating decisions. These guidelines are based on work that was originally produced by the University of Pittsburgh and it’s been adopted by many other states among similar guidelines and they’re designed to ensure consistent decision making and to protect patients fair access to health care services.
Charlie Baker: (07:17)
We expect the guidelines would only be used in true disaster situations and of course we’re doing everything in our power to prevent these situations from occurring in the first place. However, we owe it to our residents, our frontline healthcare providers, our hospitals, and our citizens to keep them, to help them through this public health emergency.
Charlie Baker: (07:43)
As the lieutenant governor mentioned yesterday, we put additional guidance out to ensure the safety of our grocery stores for both employees and customers. Yesterday we issued new orders that require stores to limit store occupancy to 40% of its regular level. This is an addition to an order we put out two weeks ago to increase access to hand sanitizer and hand washing facilities and enforce social distancing policies including marked social distancing lines beginning six feet away from all checkout counters.
Charlie Baker: (08:17)
The commonwealth’s grocery store workers are doing a terrific job and they are on the front lines every day serving customers and making sure our residents have the food they need to feed themselves and their families. This critical work does not go unnoticed and on behalf of the commonwealth, I want to say thank you for all of the work that you do every day during this crisis. You’re spending long hours away from home and away from your loved ones to make sure that others have the essential items that they need, and we value your service and we’ll continue to take any necessary steps working with local communities, local boards of health, our department of public health and others to ensure that your safety is taken seriously and put at the
Charlie Baker: (09:03)
… top of the pile as you conduct your jobs. We also would like to remind customers that they need to follow the social distancing protocols that exist within stores to keep these workers and themselves safe.
Charlie Baker: (09:18)
As I’ve said before and we’ve said many times, the best thing you can do to protect our essential workers is to stay home unless you absolutely, positively have to be out, continue to practice social distancing, and do what you can to help us flatten the curve. As we approach this surge, it’s especially critical that everyone follow the measures we’ve put into place and limit your exposure to others. Everyone’s got a role to play here; and in the weeks ahead, it will be even more important that everyone take that role seriously. Thank you.
Charlie Baker: (09:53)
With that, I’ll turn it over to Secretary Sudders.
Secretary Sudders: (10:06)
Good afternoon. Thank you, Governor, Lieutenant Governor. I have a couple of brief updates from the Command Center on our nursing home program and report on testing.
Secretary Sudders: (10:16)
As you know, the mobile testing program that was launched last week has provided as of yesterday on-site testing for 103 longterm care facilities, providing more than 1,600 tests. Today, they’re visiting 23 sites to conduct more than 300 tests. The program was started primarily in nursing homes, because that is where some of the most significant outbreaks have been, and they are medically-based facilities.
Secretary Sudders: (10:44)
Yesterday, we also responded to more than 150 calls to our new Nursing Home Family Resource Line, a dedicated phone line to connect family members of nursing home and rest home residents with the information and resources they need. It’s important during these times to provide as much information to families who can’t visit their loved ones. The new phone line provides one central contact for anyone who has questions about the nursing home or rest home care their loved one is receiving during the COVID-19 outbreak. Again, that number is (617) 660-5399, and it’s operating seven days a week.
Secretary Sudders: (11:23)
As the Governor has noted, the Command Center has worked to increase testing capacity as quickly as possible to provide access to testing for more residents and recently opened yesterday the first rapid testing program available to the general public. COVID-19 testing is currently conducted by dozens of private labs, hospitals, and other partners.
Secretary Sudders: (11:45)
The Department of Public Health is working with these organizations to improve the data reporting by race and ethnicity so that we all can better understand where and on whom the burden of disease is falling, so collectively we can respond more effectively. Today’s daily report will include race and ethnicity. But a few caveats. The data is current, will be current as of April 5th, and obviously it will be subject to change. The information on race and ethnicity is collected and reported, as I said, by laboratories, healthcare providers, and local boards of health, and may or may not reflect self-reporting by individuals. If no information is provided by any reporter on a case’s race or ethnicity, it is classified as missing. A classification of unknown indicates the reporter did not know the race and ethnicity of the individual, the individual may have refused to provide the information, or the originating system did not capture and report the data.
Secretary Sudders: (12:47)
I want to be clear, obtaining racial and ethnic data on cases of COVID-19 is crucial for examining where and on whom the burden of illness and death is falling. It’s important, yet it’s actually essential for the Commonwealth’s response to the pandemic and important information for all of us to understand. The data on race and ethnicity is far too incomplete in far too many cases. We are taking steps to improve the submission of these key data points. We are issuing an order today requiring that those data fields are to be completed so that we can begin publicly reporting on these measures, as we do on virtually every other public health condition. Thank you. Governor?
Charlie Baker: (13:29)
Speaker 1: (13:35)
[inaudible 00:13:35] general has announced she was investigating what happened. In her words, what went wrong at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home? I’d like your reaction to that. Also, do you have any additional information about what happened?
Charlie Baker: (13:48)
So I think we all are appalled by what took place at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and especially about the lack of follow through on standard protocols with respect to reporting, which is the reason why we brought in the former first assistant to the US Attorney here in Massachusetts, Mark Pearlstein, to do an independent investigation. Obviously, the Attorney General has particular oversight responsibilities, and we welcome her review.
Charlie Baker: (14:22)
The other thing I would say is that since we were notified two Sundays ago at about 9:00 at night about the situation there, we moved quickly to install a new management team and a Command Center at the site the following morning, and since then, have tested all residents, all employees, and have established, with the help of Holyoke Medical Center, a COVID facility for many of the residents who tested positive at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and continue to pursue reforms with respect to care, isolation, and infectious disease control.
Speaker 1: (15:00)
Is there anything more you can tell us about that investigation and [inaudible 00:15:04].
Charlie Baker: (15:06)
I’m a big believer in letting investigations investigate. I’ve had two conversations with Mark Pearlstein, and in both of them I basically said, “If you have any problems accessing anyone or any information, tell me.”
Speaker 2: (15:21)
Do you know where in the process that investigation is?
Charlie Baker: (15:24)
He’s in it.
Speaker 3: (15:27)
Governor, are we in the best position we can be in as a state to deal with the surge that’s coming up? Is there anything more you can do or we can do to make things better as we go into the surge here?
Charlie Baker: (15:36)
Well, obviously the biggest thing people need to do is to continue to practice the social distancing and the stay at home activities that have led to a 60% reduction in retail and recreation since March 8th in Massachusetts and a 75% reduction in mobility associated with public transit and a 63% reduction in park activity. I mean, the most important thing people need to do here is to recognize and understand that they need to stay away to the fullest extent possible from other people. To the extent they can stay at home, that’s great. To the extent they can work from home, that’s great.
Charlie Baker: (16:19)
If they have to go to work because they’re part of an essential part of our economy and have been deemed as such, we expect them to be able to implement the same social distancing standards and the same hygiene standards wherever it is they work that the rest of us are implementing. But that’s the biggest thing people can do.
Charlie Baker: (16:39)
With respect to our planning generally around the surge, I said many times that we are dealing with an unprecedented virus here. All we know about the future of this is really what we’ve seen in other places. How it plays out in other places comes with a whole variety of variables, but we’ve tried pretty hard to take what we’ve seen in Wuhan, what we saw in Lombardy, and what we see in New York and incorporate into our own modeling, as well as looking at many of the other models that have been developed that are available for public review.
Charlie Baker: (17:17)
But every time we’ve talked about our modeling, we’ve always said “at this time.” The reason we say that is because things change as this changes. But I can say that based on our modeling and a lot of the other modeling we’ve seen that involves either similar circumstances to ours or states like ours, people anticipate that sometime between April 10th and April 20th is when we can expect to see the surge. That’s why we’ve put literally thousands of additional step down medical field facility beds up across the Commonwealth and almost a thousand COVID-19 skilled nursing facility beds up as well, and it’s why we’ve been recruiting both retired medical professionals-
Charlie Baker: (18:03)
… and medical students who’ve just graduated from medical school and nursing students and a whole series of other folks who have either a direct or a significant connection to the healthcare community to come work with us and with our existing healthcare system. That’s part of the reason why we talk almost every morning to most of the major healthcare systems in Massachusetts, to get a sense from them about what they are seeing in their institutions, on the ground, and what they’re hearing from their clinicians.
[crosstalk 00:18:35] Two questions following up on that, have you been requiring [inaudible 00:18:45] to collect the race and ethnicity data from the very beginning? And then the second question, is the system MAVEN that you use, do you feel like that computer system is sufficient to handle the demand that [inaudible 00: 01:03]?
Secretary Sudders: (19:06)
So in terms of reporting, and I actually looked at the form myself because I’m that kind of a person. So the form is very clear about the data elements that are to be included for testing. The only thing you have to submit historically is your name and date of birth although it says race and ethnicity. So the form says please submit, and we’re changing please submit to it’s required, with a public health order today.
Secretary Sudders: (19:39)
And then the MAVEN system, the computer system [crosstalk 00:19:43]
Secretary Sudders: (19:42)
Right. So the MAVEN system, as you know, is our system of truth in Massachusetts. It’s actually very robust. In terms of data, what happened and why we had that large number of deaths reported on Monday, it actually is not the MAVEN system. It’s our bio records system, which we have been trying to update for a significant period of time. It’s actually part of what we’d filed in the governor’s budget was a significant upgrade of the bio records system. And so what happened that there was no feed on weekends from bio records into the MAVEN system. So this was not a MAVEN system problem. It was a vital records exchange of data from bio records, which, a significant part of our vital records system in Massachusetts continues to be a paper system. But that was where that disconnect happened. That’s now automated, so come this weekend, that will not be an issue.
[crosstalk 00:20:35] So you don’t see any changes needed to the MAVEN system currently?
Secretary Sudders: (20:38)
The MAVEN system from what everyone reports to me is a very good system, a system of truth for all of our surveillance data.
Charlie Baker: (20:48)
[crosstalk 00:20:48] Can I say one other thing about the MAVEN system that I think is important? When we first started talking to Partners in Health about creating a very big and very broad, somewhat unprecedented, contact tracing program, we spent a lot of time talking to our technology people and their technology people about whether or not MAVEN would have the capacity to deal with literally 1000 or 2000 contact tracers working out there, collecting data on potentially as many as half a million people. And the answer that our technology people gave to the tech people and Partners in Health was that MAVEN was robust enough to play really big in this space. So I definitely don’t think MAVEN is going to be our issue with respect to our ability to collect data.
Governor [crosstalk 00:21:38] about flattening the curve. Last week [inaudible 00:21:47] regarding the amount of deaths Massachusetts could see. Do you see any change in those numbers right now, based on what you’re seeing?
Charlie Baker: (21:54)
The only thing I would say about the numbers is no one should draw broad conclusions on one day or two days or three days or four days. What I do think I can say about the numbers is when you start at the beginning of this process, part of the reason why it appears you double quickly or you increase by five times quickly in terms of the number of cases you have is because you’re working off a really small base. The higher up you get, the bigger absolute number you have to generate to create that doubling effect. If you just look at the last 10 days, it’s been somewhere between 650 and 1,350 new cases each day. And that just means if it stays in that general vicinity, then over time you will actually see the little bit of a bend of the curve.
Charlie Baker: (22:45)
But the other thing I’ve also said, and we continue to believe, is you can’t draw broad conclusions from a few days worth of data in this space. I do think the fact, as I said in my remarks, that we’ve seen a fairly significant increase in the number of people testing positive, even as we’ve significantly increased our testing, does imply that in fact we are continuing to grow the number of people who here in the commonwealth are infected, and that is why we’re building surge capacity and assuming that at some point in the not too distant future, we and the Commonwealth of Mass and our healthcare community are going to be dealing with it.
Governor [crosstalk 00:23:30] higher taxes be on the table [inaudible 00:23:37] associated with the virus [inaudible 00:23:45] transportation [crosstalk 00:23:48] ?
Charlie Baker: (23:47)
In the middle of the economic downturn, we’re 25%… There was a report that was issued today that said as many as 25% of our working population could be out of work, we should raise taxes. I don’t think so.
[crosstalk 00:23:59] In terms of PPE, I’ve heard in Western Massachusetts-
Charlie Baker: (23:59)
In Western Massachusetts, they’re having trouble getting their hands on PPE. Is there any transparency in how that’s being [inaudible 00:24:11]?
Charlie Baker: (24:11)
Yeah, total transparency. Do you want to speak to that one?
Secretary Sudders: (24:24)
So we put out the data, we have the data that shows by region, by type of whether it’s hospital, nursing home, EMS, police, fire and the like. I’m happy to make that data available to you so you can see Western Mass. I actually checked it. I get calls from somebody saying, so-and-so hospital… Actually I get calls from legislators, so and so hospital did not get their PPE allotment. I can look it up and say, “Nope. On 4/4, 1800 masks were sent out.” So is there a specific question about a hospital?
So the Springfield Police Department just said they’re having trouble getting their hands on masks and gloves, stuff like that.
Secretary Sudders: (25:08)
So Springfield received 1800 masks on the last day of the March. What they are requesting is N95s, which are not in compliance with the CDC guidance, and then PPE that we submit, that we distribute out, is in compliance with the CDC guidance, which is online on our website.
Are you noticing any hot spots in Massachusetts? Areas that we’re getting a lot more than in other places, how do you intend to prioritize services?
Secretary Sudders: (25:41)
So hotspots in terms of PPE distribution, or hot spots in terms of…
No, hotspots in terms of cases.
Secretary Sudders: (25:46)
Yeah. So there’s no question that Berkshire, Pittsfield was an early odd spot for Massachusetts. As we’ve said before, that was an area of community spread that you could not tie to someone who had biogen or foreign travel. Today’s Wednesday? Okay, sorry. So yesterday we actually stood up a shelter in Pittsfield with tents and the like to help deal with individuals who are housing insecure or homeless as a way to quarantine or isolate. So we’re working community by community, I’m using Pittsfield just as an example because as you know, Berkshire Medical Center, a couple of nursing homes in Western Mass, Berkshire County in particular has been a hotspot. When you look at the maps, we have various communities that are high spots. Chelsea and Revere, we’re working very closely with Chelsea and Revere and the mayor and the city manager creating sort of a hotel for isolation for individuals who are COVID-19. Brockton has been a bit of a hotspot. Been working with the mayor again around homelessness and setting up quarantines and the like. And as you know, we have five or six hotels being set up across Massachusetts specifically-
Secretary Sudders: (27:03)
… for people who are housing-insecure and homeless, who need to be isolated because, obviously, there’s density issues in homeless shelters and the like.
Speaker 7: (27:13)
Senator, the medical examiner’s office in New York said they initially were not including who died at home in their death rates. I was wondering in Massachusetts, if there’d been any similar concerns or any look at whether there are people who died at home who were not initially counted as those who died?
Secretary Sudders: (27:33)
So, as you know, we count everyone who’s died who’s tested COVID-19, regardless of whether they’re hospitalized or not hospitalized and where they have died. So, I don’t know specifically what the New York medical examiner has said, but we’re reporting everything that we have available to us.
Speaker 8: (28:01)
Governor, comment on the lawsuit …
Speaker 9: (28:03)
Do we have any updates on the …
Speaker 10: (28:03)
One at a time.
Charlie Baker: (28:03)
Speaker 9: (28:04)
Can you comment on the lawsuit from the recreational cannabis companies wanting to be considered essential and reopen?
Charlie Baker: (28:12)
So, we’ve made pretty clear that we’ve tried very hard to implement a series of procedures and protocols and standards here in Massachusetts to protect the people of Massachusetts from community spread. We’ve also said on a number of occasions that significant numbers of the customers who procure cannabis at recreational marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts are not from Massachusetts, because many of the states around us, in fact, I think almost all of them, have not legalized recreational marijuana. Making those sites available to anybody from the Northeast would cut completely against the entire strategy we’re trying to pursue here in Massachusetts to keep people safe and that’s why they’re not an essential business.
Speaker 11: (29:06)
What about a governmental restriction that only Massachusetts residents could …
Charlie Baker: (29:10)
I’m really focused at this point on the surge, which is going to involve trying to save the lives of tens of thousands of people here in Massachusetts and I really would hope that people in Massachusetts would focus on that, too because that is in many respects going to be our greatest challenge over the next two or three weeks.
Speaker 9: (29:24)
Governor Baker, do you have any update on the request for ventilators from the feds? You still feel [inaudible 00:29:28] a fraction of what you’ve asked for.
Charlie Baker: (29:38)
So, we are trading data with the federal government around ventilators and it is my hope and my expectation that we will do better on this one by the time we need them.
Speaker 9: (29:52)
Should it be this hard? Have they been making it hard-
Charlie Baker: (29:57)
Look, I sit around and I think a lot about fact that I called every single person I could think of in Massachusetts who had some sort of global connection to something to try to find somebody who could access N95 masks in China and then I asked our professional football team to actually work with us to come up with a strategy to get the masks back to the U S and back to Massachusetts from China. I think a lot of this stuff is a lot harder than it should be, but I also said before that at the end of the day you got to, my parents always said, you play the hand and we’re going to play it as best we can, but it’s a tough hand.
Speaker 9: (30:37)
Are you exploring any alternate avenues for ventilators?
Charlie Baker: (30:40)
Yes. We are pursuing ventilators through other strategies as well.
Speaker 9: (30:43)
Can you share anything more on that?
Charlie Baker: (30:46)
No. Because what I’ve always said about this stuff, until it actually arrives, it doesn’t exist. Right?
Speaker 10: (30:51)
Speaker 12: (30:53)
Governor, the Coalition of Physicians sent you a letter today asking for you to do more things. Stop construction, stop things like gardening, landscaping, limit contact, have you see that letter and do you intend to act upon any of the?
Charlie Baker: (31:06)
I haven’t seen the letter but we obviously issued some pretty rigorous guidelines. First of all, based on updates and adjustments and federal guidelines around construction, we significantly reduced the number of projects that would be considered essential. Basically down to infrastructure, housing, yeah, pretty much infrastructure and housing and utility work, that was about it. And then we put some pretty aggressive criteria in place with respect to what they needed to do on those sites to keep people safe and basically said that we would enforce those guidelines ourselves and also talk to our colleagues in local government and said that if they would need our assistance in enforcing guidelines that we would work with them to do that as well.
Charlie Baker: (31:55)
With respect to some of the other, I haven’t seen the letter so it’s hard to comment on the rest of it, what I would say is that generally speaking, our rules and our approach to this have been to rely on the federal guidelines for the most part and if we have concerns about particular parts of the guidelines to either not include them in our guidelines or to come up with some strategy that we believe can make them safer. And then we make adjustments. Part of the reason we changed the rules with respect to grocery stores is because we heard from a lot of our colleagues in local government and from local boards of public health that we needed to. And we do know that many communities have chosen to go beyond some of this stuff we’ve done. Fine. Part of why we made the decision that we made last week to ban parking at all of this state’s beaches was because we heard from some of our colleagues in local government who raised legitimate concerns about the fact that people weren’t social distancing the way they should have been in those locations.
Charlie Baker: (32:57)
And I also hope the fact that we ban parking at the state beaches is some local folks who are concerned about their own beaches the overview that they would have needed to go ahead and do the same thing that we did if they felt that would be in the best interest of their communities as well. But I do take some comfort from the fact that if you look at the drop in mobility on those Google reports that get issued that track people’s phones, we’ve had a 60% drop in retail and recreation, a 60% drop, I think 56% drop in park activity, a 45% drop in work activity. We’ve had some pretty significant numbers that are much bigger than the U S numbers with respect to the drops that we’ve had in mobility generally, which is a good sign that people are taking this stuff seriously and doing the things they should be doing to stop the spread.
Speaker 13: (33:56)
Governor 25 states have passed some sort of regulation to limit hydroxychlorine prescriptions. Is there anything your administration is looking at with respect to that? And also, are there any plans to make the unemployment portal available in more languages than one? I think you might’ve been sent a letter from lawmakers expressing concerns about that despite the folks at Town Hall [crosstalk 00:34:20].
Charlie Baker: (34:20)
So, those two things have a lot to do with each other?
Speaker 13: (34:22)
Charlie Baker: (34:23)
Just curious. Yeah. The answer to the second one is yes and I do think all of our COVID-19 stuff is in 12 languages. Okay? If you go to mass.gov/COVID19 you can pick 12 languages that you want to follow that data in. The UI website, like many of the UI websites around the country desperately needs an upgrade and we are working to develop a multi-lingual capacity on that site. We have also, I give Secretary Roz Acosta and her team credit. They’ve created some pretty good workbooks that make it pretty easy for somebody to rely on one of those workbooks that are in different languages to actually fill out the form even if the form itself is in English.
Charlie Baker: (35:13)
And the first question, the thing we did with respect to hydroxy…
Speaker 13: (35:20)
Charlie Baker: (35:23)
Yeah. That’s not quite right, but the thing we did with respect to that was we adopted the policy that Ohio implemented, which is their Board a Pharmacy took a vote that basically said you could only prescribe it for certain circumstances and certain situations consistent with its medically prescribed use. Isn’t that basically right?
Charlie Baker: (35:50)
Speaker 10: (35:51)