Baker: ‘It will definitely be a different kind of summer’ 

Confirmed Island cases hold at 24.

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Confirmed COVID-19 cases hold at 24. — Lexi Pline

Updated at 4:30 pm

At his press briefing on Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker was asked what kind of summer it’s going to be in Massachusetts. He started by praising the creative ways people are coming up with to share ideas and stories calling it one of the “few positives” out of the COVID-19 crisis.

“It will definitely be a different kind of summer,” Baker said.

He was also asked about Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s decision to cancel all festivals and parades in the city this summer and whether that’s something he could see happening statewide.

“It would be hard for me to imagine given how popular those parades are how you would deliver on a social distancing standard for those parades,” Baker said, noting that they are often should-to-shoulder with spectators.

He also acknowledged that one of the issues that hasn’t yet been figured out is whether there can be summer camps and childcare this summer. He said it’s a topic of discussion among governors he speaks with on a daily basis.

“These issues are hard and the way I would describe them would be to say that I think everybody who is talking about this would like to figure out a way to do it and do it as safely as it can be done,” Baker said. “The tough part is figuring out especially when it comes to some of the stuff that involves the joys of being a kid, figuring out some way to do this where you have at least enough rules to do it safely but you don’t destroy the whole spontaneous nature of what those are supposed to be about.”

During the press briefing Baker and his administration urged those with chronic illnesses to stay in touch with their doctors and to use telemedicine.

At his Thursday press briefing, Baker stressed the importance of contact tracing and that individuals should answer calls from MA COVID Team which would come from an 833 or 857 number.

Martha’s Vineyard boards of health spokesperson Maura Valley told The Times Friday that public health nurses from Island Health Care are conducting contact tracing for the Island. Nurses then provide the information to town health agents and add it to the State database.

Valley is working on a more in-depth report of patients case status.

At the state level Friday, the number of newly reported confirmed cases was 1,612. New deaths jumped to 150. There are now a total of 75,333 cases and 4,702 deaths statewide. Hospitalizations lowered to 4 percent of the total cases and 366,023 people have been tested for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the 23 confirmed cases reported by the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and another reported separately by the Martha’s Vineyard boards of Health holds the Islands total to 24.

According to the hospital’s daily update, 548 patients have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 516 have tested negative and nine are pending results. There are currently no hospitalizations on Martha’s Vineyard.

The 24th COVID-19 positive patient was deemed positive after receiving an antibody test, according to Valley. The patient was ill in March, contacted their local board of health and self-isolated during the time, but was not tested.

“Due to the positive antibody test the individual is now considered a positive case but is no longer ill,” Valley wrote in an email.

Of the 24 confirmed cases, 13 are female and 11 are male. Eight of the cases are aged 50-59 years old, seven cases are 60-69 years old, two are 30-39 years old, five are 20-29 years old, one is 40-49, and another is 20 years old or younger.

The hospital has implemented new criteria for the tests. Schepici said the biggest change is the removal of the age criteria, allowing for testing of all symptomatic patients. Testing has also been expanded to anyone who is showing symptoms of a new cough, a new sore throat, a fever, new nasal congestion, new shortness of breath, new muscle aches, and new loss of smell.

 

Updated to include current numbers, information on 24th positive case, and Baker’s daily press briefing. — Ed.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Bad news Baker needs to go. It will be a “different summer”. Perhaps it will be a bit less crowded, no traffic jams heading to the Bourne bridge and at 5 corners or the Triangle.. Somewhat less crowded beaches. Businesses reinventing themselves to serve customers in new and better ways. All the stuff the typical island cranks complain about may disappear and forward thinking business people may prosper. The “new normal” may be better and more prosperous than the old normal. Looking forward to seeing what the season brings.

    • The biggest losers will be “junk” businesses that cater to to frivolous market. Business of substance will thrive and possibly expand. Maybe more real jobs for our people will be created.

  2. RINO Baker has to go! Mass & Island liberals have to regroup as do both island bias Island news papers.
    You are all trying to destroy our country and we will now come out to protest 10 fold.

    • Tisbury, what do you want to protest? Demanding to be liberated is not guaranteed to save lives or the economy. We need strategy. We need adherence to best practices from everyone. The shortsighted approach is to let nature take its course like some are insisting, which will also have an unwanted economic impact. The safer bet is to open with contact tracing and testing in place. It will be costly, yes, but so is death, illness, and a shut-down workforce.

      While, again, it’s completely valid and scary that so many are going broke from lockdown — don’t want to downplay that — they could also lose money to reopening. There has been a narrow focus on the fatality rate. What about the high number who need to be hospitalized and how that affects personal finances? Recovery can take a long time. There are potential complications, and some are serious. Hospitalized people can’t work anyway. Sick people can’t work anyway. Family members taking care of these patients may have a hard time swinging a job, too. Hospital bills of this nature will be astronomical. Is the government paying every penny for COVID sufferers? How are those living in poverty — aka the people everyone is claiming to care about most right now — going to afford treatment without good insurance? Specific to MV, is everyone willing to pay the $20,000+ bill for being flown to Boston? What about burial expenses? And time off for bereavement. Or that a sick, mourning country is not going to spend as much as a happy, thriving one.

      Or that some are voluntarily taking these risks to heart and will not choose to shop or dine out even if places open. What happens to industries that depend on tips? We send them back to work, make unemployment unavailable, but they STILL may not be able to put food on the table? Some could see their hours cut. And if the Vineyard is wide open this summer and things go sideways — if a lot of visitors get sick — will the public be understanding? Or will there be damage to MV’s reputation that affects future seasons? I have no idea. Positive association seems to drive our tourism.

      I’m not listing these issues to be negative. It’s just foolish to charge straight ahead without accounting for their impact. There’s no easy way out.

  3. I don’t know why conservatives/Trumpers have such a hard time accepting reality. With a 20% unemployment rate, 77,000 people dead of coronavirus and climbing, and now with our chidren getting a Kawasaki-like illness, of course the island will have a different summer from any we know. All events are cancelled, people are afraid of getting sick, and there are shortages of necessities. The only businesses sure to do well are the liquor stores. No shortages of alcohol, except the rubbing stuff. Even people with savings are not spending right now. Retail is hit very hard all over the country. Big department stores are in Chapter 11. Small businesses are sunk. Are you really going to get your nails done or go workout at the gym? Our country is in a depression. There’s little demand and people are not doing their normal spending, even people whose incomes have not been hit. (There are thoses.) Now that the virus is inside the White House, though, and suddenly the importance of frequent testing and contact tracing can no longer be denied by the buffoon who tried to cover up his ineptitude by claiming these factors to be unimportant, maybe we can get somewhere with containment. When one of ourTrump-believers loses a loved one, will someone respond with: “They shoulld have stayed home if they were scared or vulnerable to illness, and look, it’s terrible when people die, but the county has to open up and people have to move on and make a living. Money over lives”? Trump’s personal valet has it, Pence’s press secretary has it (and she was just married to Stephen Miller who is with Trump every day), and Ivanka’s personal assistant has it. The likelihood of someone with frequent and prolonged direct exposure not getting the virus is pretty low. The chances of an obese, old, unhealthy man with high blood pressure surviving coronavirus are also low. Boris Johnson almost died of it and he’s relatively young, although not a healthy sort. This summer will not be good for island business and we will have a long, slow slog to get to our new normal. Nothing will be the same. This is not a time for prosperity. To everything there is a season. Get used to it.

  4. at the time of this writing, there are 3 comments here. one from a liberal, 2 from conservatives. The conservatives don’t seem to like Baker.
    So I ask Tis native, and BS what the problem is with Baker ?
    Is it only that he does not tow the party line, and cares more about the citizens of the commonwealth than kowtowing to the egotistical loser who has done everything in his power to make the pandemic worse ? Baker’s approval rating by the way is at 80%. When it comes to the virus, only 43 % of Americans approve of the way trump is handling it, and that is because 86% of republicans will approve of him no matter what he does. They don’t even believe he suggested looking into injecting disinfectants as a cure to a room full of the country’s leading doctors. I’m sure some of his devoted disciples would happily volunteer for the clinical trials on that one.

    • My problem with Governor Baker is his failed leadership in this crisis . Almost fromm the beginning it was evident that this was a virus that attacked the elderly with pre-existing conditions. Baker put restrictions on the healthy population while pretty much ignoring where the real problem was happening. He should have focused all efforts on nursing homes , the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Instead we have healthy people walking around with masks, school kids being denied an education and tons of money for useless field hospitals that served no patients and have been shut down. This is fact not political hyperbole.

      • Except the so-called healthy people could be asymptomatic carriers who get others sick, which is why we need masks. That’s exactly why this virus is a pain to contain — you can’t tell who is healthy by sight.

        And separating sick people from the healthy is not the obvious and simple task some make it out to be in another way, too. I guess they hear pre-existing conditions and think it must mean a very small percentage of the population that is gravely ill. Not true. Being overweight, having high blood pressure, high blood sugar, kidney problems, liver problems, heart problems, lung problems, cancer… all tied to more serious cases of COVID. That’s millions and millions of our citizens. I can’t count how many people I know on the Island alone that have more than one of these issues. Some untreated. They function just fine and can work, yes. But the virus still poses a threat.

        People are retiring later in life now. Plenty of workers are still in their 60s or even 70s.

        And what do you suggest for families where one person working is healthy but living with someone who is at risk? Or all of the over-60 parents who have under-40 adult children living with them due to housing shortages?

        I don’t think too highly of Baker either, but probably for a different reason. Real leadership doesn’t involve “urging” people to do the right thing. Tough decisions have to be made.

      • BS–I fail to see how a governor taking bold actions to protect all of the commonwealth’s citizen is “failed leadership” .
        There are certainly some pretty serious failures at the federal level. I just don’t see how wearing a mask to protect people of all ages translates into failed leadership by a popular bi partisan governor.
        Perhaps if you had some expertise in the medical field, or were on a mythological “death panel” of the ACA, you could decide who dies and who doesn’t.
        In the mean time, read Bulkington’s comment
        Please wear a mask and don’t do things that might kill somebody’s mother who is not in a nursing home.

  5. My problem with President Trump is his failed leadership in this crisis. Even before we knew how contagious and lethal this virus was the President was told the facts by intelligence. Trump minimized and denied and did nothing to provide healthcare workers with necessary equipment from the beginning. And he carried on that the Democrats were politicizing it and it was a hoax. And he lied to Americans about numbers and what to expect. He left governors on their own to handle it, pitting one state against another AND against the federal government to fight for PPEs. Trump should have focused on testing, tracing, and equipment but he carried about how great he is and what a great job he’s done. Instead we now have 77,000 dead Americans and still climbing and uncontained. Now that it’s in the White House, he’s doing the testing and tracing for himself and his circle, but not for the rest of us. And he won’t wear a mask. Leaders lead by example. This is fact, not hyperbole.

  6. This, too, is fact, in Massachusetts:

    “As of Monday afternoon, there were a total of 5,752 confirmed cases across the Commonwealth and 4,142 were people under the age of 50.”

    ≤19 years of age – 122
    20-29 years of age – 953
    30-39 years of age -1031
    40-49 years of age – 948
    50-59 years of age – 1088
    60-69 years of age – 802
    ≥ 70 years of age -801

    Yes, we have healthy people walking around in masks. That’s the point.

  7. TO ALL: Liberals, conservatives, etc. We need to stop the inciteful and divisive rhetoric. Let SCIENCE (FACTS) determine the direction of our collective health. We must stop the increasing and dangerous politicization of “health CARE.” Here’s some primary facts: We have the HIGHEST rate of cases in the WORLD and that suggests we are NOT managing COVID 19 effectively. We also have the highest DEATH rate in the WORLD!!! (Please view the John’s Hopkins Global and US COVID map link: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html). Instead of continuously deflecting fault, we need to embrace the FACT that our country was slow to respond in terms of border and infection control, testing and resources, etc…We STILL haven’t provided states with adequate testing and we continue to be told “untruths.” Wake up and realize this is NOT about your “rights,” this is about U.S. working together to reduce and slow COVID-19 transmission as it IS highly infectious and MASKS are helping U.S. to protect each other! Do you know about R Naught (Ro)? Please learn how fast COVID spreads among our communities! Depending upon several factors, 1 person has the potential to infect up to 400 in one month! Epidemiology/Public Health needs to lead this charge! The sooner we work together (social distance, masks, hand washing,etc) the sooner we can return to our new normal….UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL….

    BOARD OF HEALTH: Why aren’t presumptive cases included in the count? If some aren’t “eligible” for a test but healthcare staff informs them they probably have it and to return home for self quarantine. are they included in contact tracing? Who writes the criteria for testing? IF THEY HAVE COVID-19 AND ARENT TESTED THIS SEEMS TO SKEW OR MANIPULATE THE DATA (TESTING NUMBERS)….How many PRESUMPTIVE cases are there???? And why risk sending someone home to potentially get worse when they say treatment at onset is more effective at saving lives? I don’t think this is legitimate and it’s bad enough that health care disparities are prevalent….What say you, BOH?

    LOOK AT THE DATA AND LET IT GUIDE U.S. Stop politicizing our health with divisive rhetoric that leads to dangerous rallies where angry, frustrated gun toting men think they have the “right” to get in police officer’s faces screaming (without masks) while potentially infecting a population.

    • In other words, try not to upset the MAGA cult because they are impulsive, unreasonable, and too dumb to care about science … and therefore, they are very dangerous to all of us.

      • China shut down travel from Wuhan to the rest of China, but continued to allow travel from Wuhan to the rest of the world. Try to grasp what is really dangerous.

    • Aquluv, the answers to some of your questions can be found in the MV Times. MVH (via MGH/Partners) has augmented its protocols in an effort to keep pace with the milieu of COVID. For example, as far as suspected cases, they are no longer listed at the MVH website. ” The hospital has implemented new criteria for the tests. Schepici said the biggest change is the removal of the age criteria, allowing for testing of all symptomatic patients. Testing has also been expanded to anyone who is showing symptoms of a new cough, a new sore throat, a fever, new nasal congestion, new shortness of breath, new muscle aches, and new loss of smell.” (This was a cut and paste from the MV Times.) The application of standard precautions not withstanding, in which all who present to MVH are assumed positive regardless of complaint, MVH no longer lists presumptive cases. To keep up the tally, see https://www.mvhospital.com/health-resources/resources-and-information-on-coronavirus-covid-19. Pending cases typically involve serology, which means the tests will take longer to process.

  8. My appreciation to the BOH for their continuous dedication to the evolving situation. Making unpopular important decisions and knowing the population will criticize them. From how to deal with public safety to how to manage beaches, restaurants and job sites. WITH NO PAY.
    As for common sense, people should use it, it’s survival of the fittest and those that listen and understand. You can’t idiot proof the world, trust me you can’t idiot proof a free lunch without someone complaining about it.
    As for the president? First it’s “he’s not my president” now it’s he didn’t lead me enough…smh
    Somebody correct me but if your upset about how the rules are it’s the legislative branch that makes the rules not the executive branch. So remember that come voting time.
    Things are bad and will possibly get worse. Things are also not as bad as they could be so be thankful.

  9. Keep canceling events and you’re going to cancel yourself right out of business. If the vacationers and second homeowners decide to go elsewhere this summer season, many shops, restaurants, hotels and service industries will close down and may never reopen again. The SSA, the Island’s lifeline and already on the verge of financial collapse, will certainly go bankrupt. The Island will sink into a depression of its own making that might take years to recover from. Think carefully before acting.

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