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SHNS Coronavirus Tracker

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The Latest on COVID-19

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Rule Changes Sparks Debate Over Medical Marijuana Caregivers

Updated regulations around access to medical marijuana caregivers emerged this week as a point of contention among some in the cannabis community, with a patient advocacy group and individual patients disagreeing over the right approach.

State Report Offers “First Look” at Pandemic Impacts on Hospitals

Massachusetts hospitals experienced sharp declines in financial well-being at the onset of the pandemic, and many ended April and May in the red despite receiving a boost from federal stimulus money, according to a new analysis.

New Bedford Mayor: Full School Reopening Poses “Unacceptable Risk”

Returning to a fully in-person education model in New Bedford Public Schools would create an "unacceptable risk of an outbreak," Mayor Jon Mitchell warned in a formal address Thursday where he also touted the city's local leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mass. Tops Among States in Telehealth Use, Verma Says

A top federal health official said Thursday she's excited to see states moving to expand access to telehealth services and that she hopes Congress and private insurers will pursue similar goals.

Road to School Reopenings Filled With Anxiety, Concerns

If Worcester Public Schools brings students back into buildings in any capacity during the upcoming academic year, registered nurse Tami Hale would be among the first people responsible for responding to the threat of a potential COVID-19 case.

Transportation Managers Adapt to Major Changes

Even as the economy has come back to life and people have begun to venture out of their homes to go to work or conduct other day-to-day business, commuting rituals have changed - maybe forever - and the return to planes, trains and automobiles has been slow.

Barrett, Golden Named Lead Climate Bill Negotiators - Senate Session Summary

The Senate on Thursday initiated a conference committee to negotiate with the House on climate and carbon emission legislation, as the branches attempt to agree on a "roadmap" to net-zero emissions by 2050. The Senate appointed as its conferees Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Co-chair Michael Barrett, Majority Leader Cynthia Creem, and Sen. Patrick O'Connor. The House negotiators are Barrett's co-chair, Rep. Thomas Golden, and Reps. Patricia Haddad and Brad Jones.

Policing, Other Major Bills Remain in Conference - House Session Summary

Another major policy proposal is heading for private conference committee negotiations after both chambers on Thursday appointed negotiators to work out a compromise on climate action legislation.

DPH Reports 338 New Cases, Two Deaths

State public health officials reported 338 new cases of COVID-19 and two new deaths on Wednesday, along with a 42-person increase in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Survey: 315,000 Not Confident About Making August Rent

More than 315,000 Massachusetts tenants have little to no confidence that they will be able to pay rent in August, according to survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, a figure that one group said indicates as many as one in three renter households could soon face eviction.

AGs Say Stronger Steps Needed at Facebook

A group of 20 attorneys general, including Attorney General Maura Healey, wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday insisting his company do more to stop the spread of hate speech, disinformation and cyberbullying.

Fauci: “Anti-Science Feeling” Obstructing Path to Normality

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday he's "cautiously optimistic" that efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine will be successful, and projected that more answers will be available in a matter of months.

Cuomo Sees States Building on Enhanced Roles

Having already taken the lead in the coronavirus pandemic response and economic rebound in the United States, it is time for Gov. Charlie Baker and other state executives to "reformulate and redefine" the partnership between states and the federal government, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday as he took over as chair of the National Governors Association.

Mass. Among States Pursuing Rapid Antigen Tests

Massachusetts is among seven states that are entering formal talks with manufacturers with the goal of facilitating rapid point-of-care antigen tests that could more quickly detect COVID-19 outbreaks in workplaces, schools and congregate care settings.

School Breakfast, MLK Memorial Bills Signed by Baker

A new law will require public schools with large populations of low-income students to provide breakfast after the school day begins in an effort to address childhood hunger and give all students a chance to succeed in school.

School Committees Face Tough Reopening Decisions

State education officials are reviewing school districts' initial reopening plans and expect to issue guidance on athletics and extracurricular activities next week, Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley said Tuesday.

Baker Orders New Enforcement, Gathering Size Limit to Fight Virus Spread

[Coverage Developing] Gov. Charlie Baker is indefinitely postponing the next step of the state's reopening in response to the uptick in COVID-19 cases that Massachusetts has seen in recent weeks.

National Job Growth Continues, But at Slower Pace

American employers added nearly 1.8 million jobs in July while the unemployment rate declined to 10.2 percent, restoring another chunk of the jobs lost during the pandemic but at a slower pace than in recent months.

UMass Tells Most Students Not to Return to Amherst Campus

In a reversal announced 18 days before the start of the fall semester, officials at the flagship University of Massachusetts campus in Amherst said Thursday night they would no longer repopulate their residence halls with students taking online classes.

July Tax Haul Plugs Some of Fiscal 2020 Deficit

Massachusetts recorded $4.456 billion in tax collections in July, with just more than half of that money being counted towards the budget year that ended June 30 about $3 billion short of expectations.

Marijuana Company Slapped With Fine, Probation

After imposing a cumulative $800,000 in fines last month, the Cannabis Control Commission slapped a $120,000 fine Thursday on a cultivator and manufacturer that sold vaporizer cartridges that exceeded allowed state limits for ethanol to marijuana retailers and dispensaries in late 2018 and early 2019.

Uncaptioned image for story:Beacon Hill's Secret Panels Require a Scorecard

Beacon Hill’s Secret Panels Require a Scorecard

The House and Senate on Thursday established a fifth major conference committee to develop consensus legislation addressing carbon emissions and renewable energy and positioning the state to better adapt to climate change.

Active COVID-19 Cases Climbing for Nearly a Month

The number of active COVID-19 cases rose nearly 25 percent over the last week and has been steady or climbing for nearly a month while Massachusetts has settled into the third of four reopening phases and planned for the approaching school year.

Fauci: “Anti-Science Feeling” Obstructing Path to Normality

[Story Developing] Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday compared the fight to contain COVID-19 in the United States to a crew team's race, saying everyone in the country needs to be rowing in the same direction.

Senators Protest Elimination of Rarely Used SWAT Unit

State lawmakers are seeking information about the MBTA Transit Police department's decision to disband its SWAT unit, warning that eliminating the effectively idle unit creates a gap in the agency's public safety apparatus.

Boston police advanced south along Tremont Street toward Boylston Street on the night of May 31. [Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Boston Police Paid $5.8 Mil in OT Tied to Protests

The City of Boston delivered nearly $5.8 million in overtime pay to police in connection with shifts associated with the wave of protests in May, June and July where thousands gathered to object to police brutality and systemic racism, the News Service has learned.

Blue Cross Delivering $101 Mil in Refunds, Rebates

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts customers and members will receive $101 million in premium refunds and rebates due to lower than anticipated health care costs during the COVID-19 emergency, the big insurer announced Wednesday.

Courts Weigh Slow Restart of Jury Trials

Jury trials in Massachusetts would restart on a limited basis, using small juries to consider cases involving civil disputes or minor criminal charges for at least two months before more serious cases resume, according to recommendations outlined last week by a judicial panel.

Visitors from Rhode Island Added to State’s Quarantine List

Most travelers entering Massachusetts from Rhode Island will soon be ordered to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival unless they recently tested negative for COVID-19, the Baker administration announced Tuesday.

New Program Aims to Sub in Clean Power During Peak Energy Periods

The Baker administration rolled out the final regulations Tuesday for a first-in-the-nation financial incentive program that aims to promote clean energy generation to supply power when demand on the grid is at its highest, and officials said it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save ratepayers money.

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Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 4 p.m. Thursday.
Individuals tested1,262,877
Confirmed cases111,533

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