LYNN NEWS ROUND-UP
JANUARY 26, 2021
See our COVID-19 related posts by clicking here.
Governor Baker will deliver the 2021 State of the Commonwealth address tonight at 7PM. Join constituents from across Massachusetts in watching his speech live by clicking here to watch on the state website.
Lynn Returning to Phase 3 Step 1 of the Massachusetts Reopening Plan starting Monday, February 1
The City of Lynn will return to Phase 3 Step 1 of the Massachusetts Reopening Plan on Monday, February 1, 2021 as a result of the average number of positive cases decreasing over the last two weeks in our community.
All gatherings and events remain subject to the current capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, and businesses must adhere to the State’s 25% capacity order at least through Monday, February 8th or until the State revises its current guidance.
Please visit http://www.ci.lynn.ma.us/covid19/resources.shtml#p7GPc1_2 for the most up to date COVID-19 testing information, as well as more detailed information on the State and City of Lynn’s Reopening Guidelines.
City of Lynn Announces $1.2 Million in CARES Act Funding
The US Department of Housing and Urban and Development (HUD) has awarded the City of Lynn an additional $1,212,525 million in federal funding through the coronavirus relief bill, known as the CARES Act. The funds are intended to prevent, prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds have been awarded to the City and will be administered by Department of Community Development (DCD), consistent with the regulations set forth in its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. DCD will partner with the Economic Development Industrial Corporation (EDIC) to allocate grant funding to local businesses. All funding is subject to HUD regulations including prioritization of funding for residents who have low- and moderate-income levels and businesses that retain or create low- and moderate-income jobs.
“This additional CARES Act funding is long overdue and desperately needed for the local businesses and non-profits which have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Thomas McGee. “This has been an incredibly challenging year for so many within our community who have lost their jobs or businesses. We’ll continue to work with and advocate for additional resources for our local businesses through our state and federal partners as we move forward in this pandemic.”Lynn’s EDIC and Community Development Office will seek grant applications from Lynn businesses and non-profits impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. EDIC will manage funding for grants of up to $10,000 to Lynn businesses and Community Development will manage grants to non-profits. Funds for businesses will be used to keep workers employed, for property lease and mortgage payments, or other eligible costs that will assist in keeping businesses afloat throughout the pandemic. Funds for non-profits can be used to for services such as job training, providing testing, increasing the availability health services, providing equipment, supplies, and materials, or delivering meals to quarantined individuals that need to maintain social distancing due to medical vulnerabilities.
The funding for businesses will be available through an on-line grant application posted at www.ediclynn.org and the City of Lynn’s COVID-19 Resources Page. Non-profit entities interested in applying for funds should visit the Community Development website at www.cityoflynnoecd.net or call 781-586-6770. All awards will be made based on need and adherence to HUD regulations.
A complete listing of proposed activities and funding allocations is available on City’s website. In total, the City has now received over $2.6 million in direct Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 funds and over $4.7 million of Emergency Solutions Grant COVID-19 funding. Nationally, $5 billion has been distributed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Fund through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
The above press release was sent to us by Mayor McGee’s office.
For phasing details and the most up-to-date status of where MA is in our vaccination timeline please visit mass.gov/covidvaccinephases
COVID-19 Vaccination Update: Individuals 75+ added to Phase 2 as first priority group
The Governor announced yesterday that Phase 2 of the Vaccine distribution timeline will now begin on February 1st with a new priority group: Individuals 75+. Beginning this Wednesday, individuals 75+ can begin setting up appointments for February first and beyond.
All Phase 1 priority groups are eligible to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine. On Monday, February 1, all individuals 75+ in Massachusetts will be eligible. Beginning tomorrow, January 27, Individuals 75+ can begin making appointments for dates February 1 and beyond.
Residents 65 and older have been bumped up in priority in Phase 2, and will join people with two or more high-risk conditions in the second group to become eligible in the next phase some time in February. People 65 and older have been pushed ahead of teachers, transit and utility workers and people with just one comorbidity.
Find more details on the vaccination phases and eligibility, vaccination locations and information for booking appointments at mass.gov/covidvaccine.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For further info. on vaccines please see the updates from state government further down in this article.
The above info. & graphic were taken from the State of MA’s official
government Facebook page.
Salvation Army Food Pantry now open Tuesday-Friday
Minor winter storm to impact area
tonight into tomorrow
Snow will then arrive this afternoon and evening, continuing overnight. Expect 2 to 5 inches in Northern CT and Western/Central MA, while 1 to 3 inches falls in RI and Eastern MA.
The above info. and graphic were courtesy of the National
Weather Service – Boston’s Facebook page.
Updates from state government
- As of Monday night, DPH reported a total of 479,402 cases of COVID-19. The state reported 3,477 new confirmed cases. The state has now confirmed a total of 13,889 deaths from the virus.
- Governor Baker announced plans to add dozens of new vaccine sites by Feb, 15, including three new mass vaccination sites, and directed people to the state’s website – www.mass.gov/CovidVaccineMap – where people can locate pharmacies and clinics closest to them on a map, check their eligibility and schedule an appointment. Governor Baker said that by the end of the week there would be 103 public vaccination sites open at pharmacies, retail chains and other providers, including a new mass vaccination site at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield opening on Friday.
- That infrastructure is capable of administering up to 242,000 doses per week. The number of vaccine clinics is expected to grow to 165 by mid-February, with the capacity to administer up to 305,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine per week. That would include five of seven planned mass vaccination sites across the state, with the Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Danvers coming online Feb. 3 and the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury opening for vaccinations the first week of February.
- As of this weekend 876,125 doses had been shipped to pharmacies and other providers in Massachusetts, and 448,982 first and second doses of vaccine had been administered. Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control put Massachusetts 28th in the country for doses administered per capita, behind New York and all five other New England states. The state, however, is making some adjustments to its vaccine distribution to speed up the rate of administration, including halting deliveries of new vaccine this week to hospitals in order to force them to use the supply they currently have.
- Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said all providers have been notified that they have 10 days to administer vaccine once its been delivered, or the state will redistribute the doses. The state “pulled back” 20,000 doses and will redirect 17,500 doses a week for the next several weeks from the federal pharmacy program targeting nursing homes and congregate care facilities to CVS and Walgreens retail locations.
- As of Jan. 19, 300,000 doses had been allocated to the federal pharmacy program, but only 80,000 doses had been administered. The federal program and its rules for distribution has contributed to the state’s overall lag in vaccine administration.
- The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Massachusetts fell below 2,000 this weekend, ticking down to a level the state’s hospitals had not seen since before Christmas. Hospitalizations had been climbing since the fall, and hit 2,428 as of Jan. 4. Data the Department of Public Health released Sunday showed 1,946 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Saturday, including 409 in intensive care units and 286 who were intubated to help them breathe. Eighty-six percent of medical/surgical hospital beds and 81 percent of ICU beds were occupied, with 47 patients in field hospital beds.
- The 3,750 new cases reported on Sunday bring the state’s cumulative COVID-19 caseload to 475,925 since the coronavirus was first detected here on Feb. 1, 2020, and the Department of Public Health estimates that 91,507 of those cases are currently active. The seven-day average positive test rate stands at 4.85 percent, down from 8.7 percent on Jan. 1. Public health officials on Sunday logged 67 recent deaths linked to confirmed COVID-19 cases, and two more considered likely to be related to COVID-19. A total of 13,844 people confirmed to have COVID-19 and 289 with probable cases of the respiratory disease have died, for a total fatality count of 14,133.
- After an exodus of members since it filed suit to block new cannabis industry rules permitting home delivery, the business group that represents most of the state’s brick-and-mortar marijuana shops announced Monday morning that it is dropping the legal challenge. The Commonwealth Dispensary Association and its attorneys from Foley Hoag argued in a suit that the new delivery-only license types created by the Cannabis Control Commission violated the state’s marijuana law, which they said gives the retailers the right to deliver cannabis under their existing licenses.
- The House on Thursday plans to hold its first formal meeting of the 2021-2022 session and stuck to routine work on Monday, dealing with legislation facilitating borrowing terms for a transportation bond bill passed at the end of the 191st General Court and scheduling a joint session to administer the oath of office to Governors Councilor Mary Hurley.
- The House and Senate could Thursday to resend Governor Baker a climate change bill designed to push Massachusetts toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, according to one senior State House official. The House and Senate both have formal sessions planned for Thursday, when the climate bill that was refiled last week in the Senate by Sen. Michael Barrett and Rep. Thomas Golden could come up for a vote. A Senate version (S 9) of the climate bill remains in its temporary Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate also holds a formal session Thursday. Both House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka have pledged to make another push at getting the bill into law, with or without the governor’s signature.
- The House is back in session on Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. The Senate also amped up its schedule for the week by upgrading Thursday’s planned session from informal to a formal session. The Senate must also debate its internal rules at some point in the opening weeks or months of the new General Court. The two branches also scheduled a joint session for Wednesday at 11 a.m. to administer the oath of office to Governor’s Councilor Mary Hurley, who represents western Massachusetts.
- Members of the Massachusetts National Guard will once again be heading to Washington, D.C., after Governor Baker on Monday signed an order approving up to 700 Air and Army National Guard personnel for a mission at the request of federal officials. The guard members are expected to leave for Washington “in the coming days” and return to Massachusetts on Feb. 23, according to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, which said the mission is separate from the 500 personnel who spent last week in the nation’s capital to support security around the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
- The guard members and counterparts from other states will support the U.S. Secret Service, according to a statement, and are making the trip at the request of the Secret Service, Department of Defense and National Guard Bureau. The military newspaper Stars and Stripes has reported that up to 7,000 National Guard troops could remain in Washington through March 12 because of concerns of more violence after the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of people supporting then-President Donald Trump.
- While public transit employees wait for their turn to receive vaccines, COVID-19 cases among MBTA employees spiked in recent weeks to their highest recorded level since the pandemic started last year. The T hit a peak of 114 active workforce cases on Jan. 16, officials said Monday, which has since decreased to 100. Before this month, the pandemic-era high for the MBTA was 107 active cases on April 23. Active cases on commuter rail operator Keolis hit their high in early December and have been on the decline, but remain at several dozen, well above infection levels in the spring, and third-party contractor cases are also at elevated levels.
- With a new federal administration in charge that’s expected to be far more receptive to renewable energy projects and specifically offshore wind, Vineyard Wind said Monday it is ready to resubmit plans for a wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard that it yanked from federal review in early December.
- Following a string of permitting delays imposed on the project by the Trump administration, Vineyard Wind on Dec. 1 announced that it was pulling the 800-megawatt project out of the federal review pipeline in order to complete an internal study on whether the decision to use a certain type of turbine would warrant changes to the project’s construction and operations plan.
- Vineyard Wind said Monday that its internal review determined that no changes are needed and that “the Federal Permitting Process can be Completed” by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
- Officials at Vineyard Wind said the company has not had detailed conversations with the Biden administration about its resubmittal, but expressed confidence Monday that BOEM could resume the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process for Vineyard Wind, despite the Trump administration having declared its process “terminated” in mid-December.
- Early education providers in Massachusetts will soon be able to access COVID-19 testing at eight sites through a new state pilot program and will be able to order protective equipment at no cost, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said Monday.
- The Department of Early Education and Care is dedicating $8 million in state and federal funds to set up a personal protective equipment fulfillment website for providers, who will be able to order one month’s supply of items including gloves, masks, bleach, hand sanitizer and wipes.
- Guidance for PPE orders and for obtaining tests through the new program will be available online,
- After another month of faring better financially than budgeted, the MBTA has set aside nearly $71 million in savings since the start of fiscal year 2021, though officials continue to stick to their plan to cut service on underused lines and consider restoring it later this year.
- The T, which shuttered weekend service on several commuter rail lines and trips on the Charlestown and Hingham ferries starting Saturday, finished November with net revenues of $14.3 million compared to an expected monthly bottom line of negative $5.2 million.
- That performance was driven by a combination of decreased spending and better-than-expected sales tax revenue collections.
- The surplus revenue will be deposited into a fund the agency created as a bulwark against a massive, pandemic-fueled budget crunch, pushing its balance to $70.8 million.
- The T will not use that money immediately and will hold it aside until the next fiscal year.
- If the rest of FY21 plays out as budgeted, the agency will end the spending cycle with $314 million set aside in its temporary savings fund that could get deployed to address an FY22 budget gap, reverse cuts to bus, rail and ferry service, or effectuate a combination of the two.
- Officials at the transit agency had previously aimed to end FY21 with between $236 million and $276 million in the deficiency savings bucket to help soften any blow in the next year if ridership is slow to return.
From Mayor McGee’s office: The Lynn Public Health Department has confirmed that as of today, the number of active, confirmed positive COVID-19 cases is 1,920 with 31 new cases today. 12,061 Lynn residents have recovered and 175 have died. The total number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in Lynn since March 21, 2020, including those who have died and recovered, is 14,156. Please visit the City of Lynn COVID-19 Data Dashboard which is updated daily.