Mar 26, 2020

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Press Conference Transcript March 26

Charlie Baker Massachusetts Update March 26
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsMassachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Press Conference Transcript March 26

Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker provided a press briefing on March 26 for COVID-19 in the state. He requested ‘Major Disaster’ funding from the Federal Government.

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Charlie Baker: (00:00)
The Broad Institute has unique experience in the testing field. And from discussions with them, we expect that they will be able to process as many as 2000 additional tests a day once they ramp up. All in, we now have 21 labs testing samples here in the Commonwealth. As I said before, I want to remind people that as we continue to increase the number of tests, we expect to see case numbers rise as well. But more tests means more people know for sure whether they have COVID-19. And from there, those who test positive can work with their healthcare providers and others to take the steps that they and we need to take to limit the spread and the people they interact with can do the same. This tracing and isolation work is one of the main ways we save lives and reduce the spread. I also want to remind people if you have questions on whether or not you should be tested, you should begin by contacting your health care provider who will walk you through the steps.

Charlie Baker: (01:03)
We’ve also increased access to telehealth over the last few weeks, giving more people the ability to connect with their providers remotely. A phone call or a video chat with a trusted clinician is now a covered benefit. Think of it as another form of purposeful social distancing, one that works for patients and for clinicians. Today, our administration is pleased to announce a new effort to ensure the care and safety of the Boston area’s homeless population during the COVID-19 outbreak. A former Boston Medical Center hospital called the Newton Pavilion, which is now a state asset, will be temporarily reopened to support the medical needs of area homeless residents. Newton Pavilion, owned by the state, but this new facility will be operated by a consortium of providers including Boston Medical Center, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, shelters in the city, including the Pine Street Inn, and the city of Boston’s COVID-19 response team. The facility will be used as needed for a range of care needs and potentially treatment for homeless patients. This includes homeless patients who test positive for COVID-19 or awaiting test results. The facility will provide a safe, isolated place for people to stay and recover if they don’t require hospitalization. Acute care for sicker patients including ICU care can also be made available. Newton Pavilion will also serve as a post-discharge facility for patients who don’t have a home to return to. The whole facility has the capacity for about 250 beds.

Charlie Baker: (02:43)
We certainly view this as a critical step to helping the Commonwealth secure enough space and care for homeless individuals that become infected and we are grateful to our partners that have made this possible. And over the course of the past several weeks, we’ve been working with the city of Boston on this issue. They continue to stand up, identify, and staff additional locations to service and support Boston’s homeless community. Two locations opened last week, the Barbara McInnis house and 112 Southampton Street. The city also announced $2.5 million in grants to strengthen healthcare systems for the homeless population and the city’s most vulnerable residents. By next week, Boston expects to open an additional facility for further care options if it’s needed. Today our administration also submitted a request through FEMA to the president for federal disaster assistance and response to the COVID-19 epidemic. This request for a major disaster declaration, if approved, would provide the Commonwealth additional federal assistance beyond what was included in the emergency declaration I announced on March 13th. The Major Disaster Declaration would give support and flexibility to our communities as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. This would include a request for FEMA’s public assistance program, which would make financial assistance available to cities and towns, state agencies, and certain nonprofits statewide. The disaster declaration also requests FEMA’s individual assistance program including Disaster Unemployment Assistance and crisis counseling assistance to help support our residents. The Disaster Unemployment Assistance program provides benefits for workers that do not qualify for support through the regular UI program and would mitigate the impact of this disaster on this particular group of workers. We hope to see the feds move on this quickly so that we can get those resources deployed to our residents as soon as possible.

Charlie Baker: (04:43)
From every corner of government, our administration will continue to take swift action to support the health, safety, and financial security of our residents during this unprecedented time. Many of you watching today have been working remotely and spending most of your time in your homes at our request to help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I can’t tell you how much the Lieutenant Governor and I, everybody who’s part of our administration, appreciates how frustrating and difficult this is for you and your loved ones, but we are so grateful for your continued cooperation and patience. These are uncertain times for sure, unprecedented, but we’re confident that we can get through this together. To all the parents juggling work and kids at home, thank you, thank you, thank you. We know how hard a few days at home with young children can be. From what we hear, so many parents are coming up with great ways to keep kids learning and engaged, which comes, of course, as no surprise. I want to thank you for your patience and your creativity.

Charlie Baker: (05:49)
The people in Massachusetts have always been known for their resiliency and grit during the most challenging times and this time is no exception. We ask you to please continue to stay informed and use common sense to keep your families and loved ones healthy. You have our commitment that we will keep doing everything we can to ease the burdens of this virus and all of the burden that has been placed on so many across our Commonwealth. And we continue to encourage everyone to subscribe to our new text alert system by texting COVIDMA to 888-777 and we promise we will not overload you with alerts and updates. Continue to get your news from trusted sources and official channels like mass.gov/covid19.

Charlie Baker: (06:35)
I’d now like to turn the podium over to Secretary Sudders, who’s going to talk about an exciting new opportunity to engage healthcare volunteers within our communities. Secretary?

Secretary Sudders: (06:50)
Actually Governor, that exciting opportunity is going to be announced tomorrow, but he’s given you the header for tomorrow.

Charlie Baker: (06:57)
Thanks, Lizzie.

Secretary Sudders: (06:58)
No, good afternoon everybody. Just to pick up on a couple of things that the governor mentioned on the COVID Mass to 888-777, as of last night, there was more than 110,000 individuals had signed up for alerts. And as the governor mentioned about working with homeless shelter providers, particularly on the individual side, we’re here to support the city of Boston and their efforts, they take the lead and we’re here to support them in that. And the Newton Pavilion was a very significant step for us to step up and provide sort of a, if you know Barbara McInnis house, it’s like a Barbara McInnis kind of a model, which is sort of a step down from hospital level of care to be operated by, as the governor said, a consortium of homeless providers in Boston Medical Center. In fact, as I stand with you today, on the phone is my staff in concert with the Department of Public Health and MEMA staff with other homeless providers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, of which there’s 42, literally working with them, what their needs are so that we can help them stand up with services they need to both provide social distancing, disinfect, and set up potential quarantine sites for them as they need them across the state. Because what works in Boston is different than what works in Pittsfield, is what will work differently in Springfield.

Secretary Sudders: (08:21)
To give you just a couple of other updates, we continue to work the supply chain hard to ensure that we can increase supplies of PPE, personal protective equipment. As of yesterday, we had prepared and shipped out 68 deliveries of PPE to sheriff departments, local fire and police, and healthcare entities across the Commonwealth. To date, between MEMA and DPH, we have sent more than 150 shipments of supplies over the last two weeks. Yesterday we sent more than 10,000 swabs to 55 sampling sites, that’s their hospitals, community health clinics, et cetera, to enable them to continue collecting patient samples to send for labs. And since Sunday, we’ve distributed more than 28,000 masks and 120,000 pairs of gloves. But we know we continue to need to move the supply chain in order for us to have sufficient supplies in the Commonwealth. And since the command center stood up, we’ve placed more than $50 million in orders for PPE and working with suppliers to expedite shipping to the Commonwealth. As you know, as we’ve been announced before, we’ve requested additional supplies from the Strategic National stockpile. To date, approximately 17% of our requests have been filled. We received a third confirmation of a delivery, but it’s not yet been received.

Secretary Sudders: (09:47)
In addition to protecting individuals who are homeless, there’s another group of individuals, people with profound disabilities, that are important for us to protect. In Massachusetts, there are just over 36,000 individuals who are MassHealth recipients who have significant disabilities and receive what is referred to as personal care attendant services at home. Without these personal care attendant services, these individuals would be at risk of being placed in nursing homes. PCA services are essential services that support individuals with disabilities with what we refer to as activities of daily living, such as dressing, grooming, bathing, ambulating. In order for these individuals to stay home and not be at risk of placement into a nursing home, they have to have PCA services. PCAs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are represented by SEIU local 1199. So we’ve been working with the disability community 1199 to come up with some alternatives in the event that a PCA was unable to come to work. So in a unique collaboration in these times, we partnered with home health, the 150 home health-

Secretary Sudders: (11:02)
In these times. We partnered with the 150 home health agencies, 1199 and the disability community to deploy home health aides to consumers if their PCA is unable to come to work. We’ve stood up a dedicated hotline, which actually is a number, may not be familiar to you all, but it’s actually a number that’s familiar to people in the disability community and ensures that there is a warm handoff. The number is +1 844-422-6277, and it went live yesterday. Gratefully at this point, calls to the hotline are small, but obviously we’re assuming if we continue to have community spread, that PCA’s will be affected. And again, it’s extraordinarily important for these 36 individuals to be able to maintain their independence and safety at home. As we continue to prepare our healthcare system to ensure that we have both the physical space and staff to care for a surge in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, yesterday we announced, late in the day, three additional orders that ensure patient safety but continue to give hospitals and healthcare systems the flexibility that they will need to attend to a surge.

Secretary Sudders: (12:20)
One is on nurse staffing. We are temporarily exempting all hospitals licensed in the Commonwealth from the acuity assessed staffing and nurse to patient ratio requirements that were established in law. We have paused the determination of need process in order for facilities who need to seek approval for substantial capital expenses or transfer of site to do renovations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak that they can do that without regulatory hurdles. This will allow healthcare facilities that needed flexibility to increase bed and care capacity during this public health emergency. And finally, we’ve issued an order and guidance to licensed pharmacies and pharmacists to help maintain access to prescription medication throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

Secretary Sudders: (13:08)
The measures include, and I’m not going to go through them all, it authorizes pharmacy technicians to remotely process patient prescriptions. It allows pharmacists to dispense medication refills to ensure therapy continuation for chronic conditions, and allows pharmacists who are licensed in other states and in good standing to practice within Massachusetts to operate in Massachusetts in a licensed pharmacy or healthcare facility. It also conserves sterile compounding garb when there’s a documented shortage or potential shortages. As we continue to identify issues that we need to address to reduce regulatory barriers, but that ensure safety in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we will continue to address them so that we’re prepared in the event of a surge. Thank you, governor.

Charlie Baker: (13:56)
Questions for any of us? Well, first of all, the unemployment numbers are obviously a reflection of what I think everybody’s seeing going on in the economy, not just here in Massachusetts but around the country. As states have gotten very aggressive about implementing social distancing criteria and eliminating all nonessential employment and changing the very nature of the way other operations work, that has put a tremendous number of people out of work. And as I said earlier this week, by moving to the cloud, which we did two years ago, we have the ability to absorb literally the 15 fold increase in applicants that came through the system over the course of the past seven or eight days. I think in many ways this is going to be one of the biggest challenges that states are going to face over the course of the next several weeks, which is processing an unprecedented number of new unemployment claims and trying to get them into the system and loaded and paying as quickly as possible. But this is true everywhere. It’s not just true in Massachusetts.

Charlie Baker: (15:33)
I know there are hundreds of thousands of people who have filed an application, which is again 15 fold what you would typically see in the course of a week. The one public service announcement I would make here with respect to this, which is really important for anybody who’s filing, the employer, the actual name of the employer that has to go on that application is the name of your employer on your W2 form. And that’s the kicker that then ties your application to their records with respect to how much money you got paid so that they can determine what your actual allocation on unemployment insurance would be. And the reason I say this is because if you worked at Dunkin Donuts but you worked at a very particular Dunkin Donuts that was owned by a particular franchisee or owned by corporate, you need to actually name that Dunkin Donuts. Because if you don’t, if you just say Dunkin Donuts, the claim is not going to process because that’s not what’s on your W2.

Charlie Baker: (16:39)
So point number one, when you file, make sure the filing has your actual name of the company on your W2. That is in many ways one of the biggest single things that kicks a claim and then requires people to go through the process of making phone calls and dealing with that. The call center, 10 days ago, 15 days ago, had roughly 50 people in it. Now the call center has 300 people in it and they’re all working remotely. And by this time next week, it will probably have over 400 people in it. They’re taking calls, and also when people leave messages, calling people back to find out what the issue was with respect to the filing of their claim. I mean our goal here is to get through this as quickly as we can, and having talked to a number of other states already, this is going to be a big challenge for everybody, but something that people believe absolutely positively has to get done as quickly as possible.

Speaker 2: (17:43)
Governor, have you given any thought to [inaudible 00:17:48] tax filing?

Charlie Baker: (17:48)
Yeah, we’ve been talking to our colleagues in the legislature about this for several days. It requires a legislative fix to be done, and I think one way or another we’ll figure something out here, but we don’t have anything to say about it today.

Speaker 2: (18:09)
[inaudible 00:18:11]. How soon [inaudible 00:18:22]?

Charlie Baker: (18:17)
Well, the aid package that passed the Senate is now in the house, and at some point we assume that something like that’s going to come out of the house and make it to the president’s desk. There’s a particular element in that bill which is designed to support people who haven’t paid into the unemployment system, the self-employed folks, consultants, people who work on 1099s. And the biggest challenge that states are going to face, and we’re already thinking about how to deal with this, is if somebody is not already in the unemployment system, they don’t have an employer who’s paying it every month and giving everybody their wage data so everybody knows, once they actually get their application filed, what their actual benefit would be based on how much they make.

Charlie Baker: (19:02)
We are working to figure out how we will actually accept those folks, determine what their wages were in some legitimate way and then make sure that we can pay it out. I can promise you that we are glad that the feds put this into the mix and made this part of the equation, because for many of us it was one of the biggest things we were wondering about how we were going to solve for. But we’re going to have to create sort of an alternative universe over here to process people who aren’t currently in the unemployment system because they don’t work for somebody who pays unemployment taxes and they don’t pay them themselves. So job number one, figure out who they are, how much they made, and then come up with a way to actually distribute funds to them based on the guidelines that are provided by the feds. But yeah, this is a really important thing, we’re going to figure it out.

Speaker 2: (20:02)
[inaudible 00:20:02] Will any of the work that kids are doing right now at home count for [inaudible 00:00:20:09]? And two, what about students who may be behind on that [inaudible 00:00:20:15]? What about them?

Charlie Baker: (20:18)
So I wish you’d been here yesterday to ask commissioner Riley that question. He would have been much better suited to answer it, and I would urge you to follow up with his office. I would say two things. The first is decisions about sort of progress in grading in Massachusetts have always been made at the school district level, and that will continue to be the case. That’s not going to change. The second thing, with respect to folks who are seniors, the big issue there will be how much can they actually get done between now and the end of the year.

Charlie Baker: (20:52)
And one of the reasons we extended the period of time away was so that people could accept the fact that we had five weeks here of a solid time the communities and the department of elementary and secondary education could work on to chase curriculum for kids that would be age appropriate. It also took a little while for the department to set up its partnership with WGBH TV to make learning available to kids who don’t have access to the internet, don’t have a laptop, but virtually everybody’s got a TV with public television on it.

Speaker 3: (21:27)
Governor, can you address [inaudible 00:21:32]?

Charlie Baker: (21:43)
That sounds like a perfect question for the command center.

Secretary Sudders: (21:50)
We’ve been working with the deans of the medical schools in Massachusetts for early graduation so that it’s a cadre of individuals who could be licensed. I’m expecting…

Secretary Sudders: (22:03)
It’s a cadre of individuals who could be licensed. I’m expecting that the deans are going to be making an announcement. Apparently we’re now doing a pre-announcement. So I don’t think the deans have formally announced what the graduation dates would be, but we will be prepared, if the schools graduate early, to provide 90-day provisional licenses through the Board of Registration of Medicine, a one-page application. So in the event that medical schools provide that, but that has to come from the deans, we’re prepared to provide almost automatic 90-day licenses so that we would have a cadre of physicians in Massachusetts.

Speaker 4: (22:40)
While you’re up there, could you just answer-

Secretary Sudders: (22:44)
Sure. I’m doing my steps. That’s how-

Speaker 4: (22:46)
I know. The steps are important.

Secretary Sudders: (22:48)
Yeah, they are. I’m actually worried about these two right here.

Speaker 4: (22:53)
Can you tell us how concerned you are about doctors and nurses getting sick, getting COVID-19? Does that seem to be a problem that it’s spreading?

Secretary Sudders: (23:07)
So my honest answer to you is I’m worried about anyone becoming symptomatic with COVID-,19 testing positive. But one of the things that we’ve been doing with the medical community… So one of the things we’ve been doing, as you have heard as we roll out these series of changes, is one, if physicians who had retired… Trying to expand the cadre is what I would say to you. So two things. One is trying to expand the cadre of nurses, physicians, techs, and the like by announcing a series of changes such as physicians who’ve retired in good standing can automatically renew their licenses. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists as three examples who work in another state and they’re licensed in good standing can work in Massachusetts without going through the regulatory process of being licensed through the board of registration of pharmacy, nursing, or medicine.

Secretary Sudders: (24:02)
So the announcement I just made about eliminating for now the fairly stringent nurse staffing ratios that make sense when you’re not in a pandemic, so removing them as long as there’s a complete focus to safety, those are some of the things that we’re trying to remove. The working with the deans of the medical school, apparently which is getting a pre-announcement today, of students who have been matched, if they graduate, getting them a 90 day license. So we have a cadre. We’ve asked for physicians and nurses at the federal level to be able to work in Massachusetts.

Secretary Sudders: (24:43)
And healthcare workers in addition to people who are hospitalized, as you know, are at the top of our list for people to get tested, so that if they test positive then they’re out until they’re asymptomatic, until they’re cured, and then they can come back to work. So the health care workforce is key to us. And I’m sorry, I just sort of rattled off a number of items. So again, we’re trying to increase the cadre as well as ensure that healthcare workers are in the priority group who are tested. If they become positive for COVID-19, then they’re out, and then try to get them back as safely as possible.

Speaker 4: (25:29)
[inaudible 00:25:29] If they’re getting sick, why are they getting sick?

Secretary Sudders: (25:36)
Because as what we know about COVID-19 is it’s highly contagious. Unlike the flu, COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease. And so that is why the PPE is so important, which is why we are literally, every possible supply chain we can find, we’re trying to maximize it. I’m staying here.

Speaker 5: (25:59)
What is the turnaround time now for test results? Once somebody is tested, how long before they get the results back?

Secretary Sudders: (26:10)
Right. So the state lab is 24-48 hours. I haven’t checked today. So these are probably yesterday or the day before numbers. The commercial labs, as you know, was between three and seven days. And I think when you saw the test, the report, which was I think yesterday or the day before, and you saw that bolus from quest labs, so now that they can test in Massachusetts, that is much, much faster. So that was a catch up. So I’m expecting, and with the Brode coming online, we start reporting tomorrow, I’m expecting that we’re going to see much faster turnarounds, 24 to 48 hours. But we do know that particularly through some of the commercial labs, that the lag time was up to about seven days.

Speaker 2: (26:54)
Said yesterday that coronavirus could back in cycles [inaudible 00:27:03]. Is it that they can get again? And how is the state preparing if we were to get another cycle?

Secretary Sudders: (27:11)
I heard Dr. Fowchee also. So I am not an epidemiologist or researcher, and there’s obviously a lot of research going on internationally by the WHO and nationally of looking at what the… This is a new strain of coronavirus, which H1N1 is also in the family of coronavirus. But this is clearly a new strain and we will, I’m hoping to get through this next few months. Oh yes, yes ma’am.

Secretary Sudders: (28:00)
Yeah, so PCAs are considered by us as healthcare workers, but again, we are, as the governor and I have said, we need not just an adequate supply in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We need a significant supply in Massachusetts so that anyone in healthcare, fire, police and first responders have access to masks and gloves so that they can provide direct services. Thank you.

Charlie Baker: (28:30)
Guys, just let me follow up on a couple of things the secretary said. One is that there are a number of very significant manufacturers who’ve made a decision to repurpose their manufacturing processes to make a lot of this gear. Now that doesn’t happen overnight. But if you believe, I think as we do, that this is a challenge that’s going to be with us for awhile, at whatever level, having manufacturers who are focused on creating PPE, personal protective equipment, and having it just coming out as a matter of course and getting purchased is a huge part of how we get to the point where we are adequately prepared to provide that to everybody who’s part of the community, whether it’s first responders, healthcare workers or others who are going to need access to it. The second thing I would say is that there’s a tremendous amount of time and effort that’s put into supply chain investigations with respect to this stuff generally, and I can’t tell you how frustrated governors including this one are about the issue associated with landing the order. Tap into us, tap into many governors across the country.

Charlie Baker: (29:55)
This issue about landing the order is a very significant challenge for every single state. And on every call with the vice president, the president, the coronavirus team in Washington, our big message to them is you got to let us land the order, and it continues to be in some respects one of the biggest challenges we face. And FEMA has talked about creating a more coordinated approach to this. They talked about it today on the phone call that we had earlier with the administration. I think this is going to be critical to our ability as a country, nevermind as a Commonwealth, to get access to the personal protective equipment that people need to actually do this job and do it well. The other thing I would say, Jonathan, in response to your question, do not underestimate the power and the importance of telehealth. Nobody has to go face to face, close contact between a patient and a provider to execute on a video chat or a phone call.

Charlie Baker: (31:02)
The safest way to engage if you have symptoms or you’re concerned you have symptoms with your provider is to call them up, or if they have access to video chat capability, whatever way it might be, use it. That keeps them safe and frankly it keeps you safe too. If you’re actually not as sick as you think you might be, you don’t have to go into a medical community where other people who might be there would be and you could get it from them. I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s a covered benefit. Providers who offer the service are going to get paid for it. You are going to get treated by your clinician. And it keeps both of you safer than you would be if you chase it the other way, the more traditional way. So I just urge everybody to take advantage of this.

Speaker 7: (31:49)
Guidelines [inaudible 00:09:57]. Are you going to overrule these local opinions or [inaudible 00:32:03]?

Charlie Baker: (32:03)
Well, there’s two things going on here, and they’re both legit. One is a concern that we have about the importance of many forms of construction. As long as people act on the guidance that was issued by state agencies and by the command center to keep people safe, there’s a lot of work there that is, in our view, essential to the Commonwealth, whether you’re talking about housing or transportation or infrastructure. And by the way, if you look at the federal guidelines on this, infrastructure is right there on the list of things that they consider to be essential. But that said, in the guidelines that we issued, one of the things we said was that the act of actually overseeing and enforcing this stuff needs to be done at the municipal level for municipal permitted work. Okay. Boston and several other municipalities have said, and it’s a fair point, that they don’t believe they’re in a position at this point to do the work that would be associated with ensuring that those guidelines…

Charlie Baker: (33:03)
To do the work that would be associated with ensuring that those guidelines were being adhered to on the ground, on all the projects that’re either underway or planned. If you think about Boston in particular, they probably have somewhere between 10 and 11,000 construction workers working in the city in any point in time. And I am very sympathetic to the mayor’s point of view that until he feels comfortable that the actual act of overseeing and enforcing those guidelines, which we care about a lot too, because we don’t want people to be working in an unsafe manner, can be adhered to, he’s not going to open back up. And I get that.

Speaker 8: (33:35)
[Inaudible 00:33:36].

Charlie Baker: (33:43)
For the most part, it depends upon… I mean if they got a legitimate issue, yes.

Speaker 9: (33:52)
[inaudible 00:33:51].

Charlie Baker: (33:59)
So first of all, there’s three levels of, you know this, there’s… Houses of correction, there’s minimum security, medium security, maximum security. People are eligible for parole, people are in the medical parole process. What I would say is that there is a process for folks who are currently up for parole and that’s being pursued mostly using remote technology by the parole board. There are folks who are up for medical parole and they will absolutely be reviewed as well, but the thing you have to remember about medical parole is they need to have someplace to go in the community. And if they don’t have some place to go, they’re probably better off, in many cases, where they are, where we do have significant medical facility resources. I mean the Commonwealth spends, just to put the number, spends over $100 million a year on medical services that are provided to state inmates. With respect to… What was the third part of that?

Speaker 9: (35:04)
Are you going to have a uniform standard?

Charlie Baker: (35:07)
I don’t think you can have a uniform standard for this. I think you have to treat this on a case by case basis. I don’t want to… Remember Commissioner Koutoujian, commissioner, Sheriff Koutoujian talked about the fact that he had a number of folks that he offered to let out and their lawyers basically said, “They don’t have any place to go, I’d rather have them, they and we, would rather have them stay where they are.” I really think you have to deal with these on a case by case basis.

Speaker 10: (35:32)
Governor, I know you just had these schools closed for 10 days, and that was yesterday, [inaudible 00:02:40]. Is that something you guys might consider, or is it being looked at as a possibility [inaudible 00:35:48]?

Charlie Baker: (35:51)
To get back to the question that was asked over here earlier about the rest of this school year, I think we should be committed to the idea that if it’s safe, we want kids to be able to finish the year. I don’t want to toss away the second half of a student’s possibility to learn what they need to learn to succeed in the next grade. How does that help anybody? I mean I’ve wondered all along on this one, if we literally just broom the rest of the school year, that would mean every student in Massachusetts, for all intents and purposes, would either have to stay back or not graduate or if they moved ahead to the next grade, they will move head to the next grade or they would graduate from high school, having missed literally an entire, almost half a year of educational experience. My view, I think we should fight to try and figure out if we can’t find some way to make it possible for them to get the education they’re going to need to take the next step, whatever it might be.

Charlie Baker: (36:55)
Now I say that recognizing the fact that we have to, I hate to use the phrase, track the facts on the ground and if the facts on the ground don’t support us doing that, we won’t. But I don’t think we should just write off the rest of the school year for kids for whom it’s really important. The other thing I’ll say about this, my kids are in their twenties now, so I don’t worry very much about them anymore. I mean I worry about them, but it’s different worry.

Charlie Baker: (37:25)
If my kids were in high school and my wife and I were following a stay at home advisory, we have access to the internet, we have access to people who can help us figure out what the best learning opportunities are, we have the ability to set our kids up and actually make sure that they continue to get that learning experience. There are a lot of kids for whom school is going to be the place where they have the biggest, and best, and most significant opportunity to get the education they need. And I don’t want to start with the assumption that we’re just going to blow that off for the rest of the year. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to create enough meaningful content and opportunity for kids to actually get something out of the second half of the school year and maybe depending upon what happens, we’ll have the ability to have them spend the next five weeks doing some good stuff, either using the public TV options that are available, or school-based options that are made available to them at home, or stuff that’s available in packages, or done online. And then let’s see what happens when we get there.

Speaker 2: (38:29)
[inaudible 00:38:29] front line, and you were saying this [inaudible 00:38:36] great idea. So many patients already have the condition. [inaudible 00:00:38:40]. What can you say to doctors and nurses [inaudible 00:00:38:45]?

Charlie Baker: (38:48)
The biggest thing I would say is that we are doing everything we can through an incredibly messy thicket that is enormously frustrating for all of us to try to get them the gear that they deserve and they need. And I spoke in my open remarks about compassion and bravery. There are a lot of very compassionate and very brave people here in the Commonwealth who are doing what they can to serve people, recognizing and understanding that in this particular area, the entire country is struggling to deliver. I stand here as someone who has had confirmed orders for millions of pieces of gear evaporate in front of us. And I can’t tell you how frustrating it is. We now have other orders that are outstanding that are probably quote unquote “confirmed’, but we’ve literally gotten to the point where our basic position is until the… Until the thing shows up here in the Commonwealth of Mass, it doesn’t exist. But I’m telling you, people are spending hours and hours and hours trying to get this stuff here for exactly that reason. Our first responders, our healthcare workers, everybody deserves to have that gear and I’m telling you, we’re killing ourselves trying to make it happen.

Speaker 11: (40:07)
Thanks everybody.

Charlie Baker: (40:07)
Thanks everybody.

Speaker 12: (40:07)
[inaudible 00:40:19].