MARCH 25 -- Gov. Charlie Baker is meeting with medical professionals Wednesday afternoon, the 16th day of a state of emergency he declared around the coronavirus outbreak, and plans to update the press and public afterwards about the state's continued response.
"The coronavirus has upended the lives of so many of our friends and neighbors over the past few weeks. And unfortunately, the worst is yet to come," Rep. Jon Santiago, an emergency room physician, wrote in an email update Wednesday. He said, "COVID-19 testing has finally scaled up to the capacity that we need yet obtaining sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) remains an issue. We no doubt have a long way to go but I'm confident we'll get through this crisis together."
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 1,159 COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, including 11 deaths and 94 hospitalizations. A total of 13,749 people had been tested for the virus.
The latest daily COVID-19 case numbers, testing information, and a death count are set to be released by 4 p.m., and Department of Public Health data published earlier in the day show a total of 3,802 Massachusetts residents have now been subject to quarantine and monitoring for potential symptoms of the respiratory illness.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., federal officials have announced a deal on a $2 trillion economic aid package that includes money for hospitals, nurses and doctors, nursing homes and community health centers. -- Katie Lannan
MBTA Revenue Down at Least $25 Million: With ridership down as much as 83 percent on core subway lines, the MBTA will likely face a shortfall in fare revenue of $25 million to $35 million in the month of March alone, a T spokesman said Wednesday. The estimates are the first numbers indicating the financial strain the T will face amid the coronavirus outbreak. About a third of the T's total revenue in its $2.1 billion budget comes from fares. A $2 trillion federal aid package is moving in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, and it includes $25 billion in emergency support for public transit agencies impacted by plummeting ridership. - Chris Lisinski 12:45 PM
New Quarantine Numbers: More than 2,000 Massachusetts residents are officially under quarantine as they undergo monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms, according to the latest set of Department of Public Health figures. Along with the 2,147 people currently in quarantine, another 1,655 have completed monitoring and are no longer quarantined. The department is set to release updated case numbers, along with statistics on testing and fatalities, by 4 p.m. Wednesday. - Katie Lannan 12:41 PM
Gaming Commission to Meet: Gaming regulators plan to meet virtually Wednesday afternoon to discuss the ongoing shutdown of the state's slots parlor and two resort casinos. The Gaming Commission said a vote on "the operational status of gaming licensees in light of the Coronavirus" is expected. Gambling has been shut down in Massachusetts since the early hours of March 15 and the commission said it intended to revisit its decision as the pandemic evolved. Interim Executive Director Karen Wells is also expected to fill commissioners in on the responses the commission got to its request for comments on the outstanding casino license for Southeastern Massachusetts. The public may "attend" the 2 p.m. meeting by calling 1-646-741-5292 and using meeting ID 112 916 2822. -- Colin A. Young 12:15 PM
Response Advisory Panel: Gov. Charlie Baker announced that his administration last week convened a group of doctors and researchers to advise the state's Coronavirus Response Command Center. The group includes Scott Gottlieb, who served as commissioner of the FDA from 2017 until April 2019 and now is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributor to CNBC; Eric Lander, the president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and a leader of the effort to map the human genome; Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a professor at Harvard Medical School and a practicing infectious disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital; Dr. Paul Biddinger, the MGH endowed chair in emergency preparedness and the director of the Center for Disaster Medicine; and Dr. Michael Wagner, who serves as interim CEO and chief physician executive of Wellforce. Baker's office said the group will provide expert input "on key decision points in the state's response, including expanding access to testing and planning for medical surge." -- Colin A. Young 10:06 AM
Baker, Walsh Updates: Gov. Charlie Baker plans to deliver his daily update on the coronavirus at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, again from the State House's Gardner Auditorium. Baker's office has been streaming the press conferences on his Twitter account, and the video is typically posted to YouTube afterwards. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is also planning a media availability, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. outside of City Hall and live-streamed on the city's website. - Katie Lannan 10:02 AM
New Test Earns FDA Emergency Authorization: Waltham-based company PerkinElmer announced Tuesday it had received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its new test that detects SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness. Last week, Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, who is leading the state's coronavirus command center, named PerkinElmer as a local company that has committed to help the state in testing. She said the company "has offered to supply the state lab with a testing machine and supplies with additional capacity for almost 1,000 tests per day." - Katie Lannan 9:43 AM
AGs Call for More Medical Supplies: Attorney General Maura Healey joined with 15 of her counterparts Tuesday in urging President Donald Trump to make full use of the Defense Production Act and prioritize production of medial supplies including masks, respirators and COVID-19 testing equipment. The 16 attorneys general, in a letter to Trump, said the federal government needs to "act with urgency and clarity" to quickly get such supplies to health care providers and first responders. "We are on the brink of catastrophic consequences resulting from the continued shortage of critical supplies," the letter said. "The federal government must act decisively now and use its sweeping authority to get as many needed supplies produced as soon as possible for distribution as quickly as possible." - Katie Lannan 9:18 AM