State using $186M of COVID funds for health care, workforce

State using $186M of COVID funds for health care, workforce

The spending is part of $200 million designated to the governor to respond to the immediate needs of the pandemic. It represents just a sliver of the roughly $5.3 billion Massachusetts received under the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package approved by Congress earlier this year. The majority of that funding is controlled by the Democratic-led legislature. Baker has proposed using nearly $3 billion toward a range of housing, economic development, job training, health care and infrastructure priorities.

The governor said $55 million will go towards health and human services’ workforce development, another $50 million for hospitals facing major financial shortfalls, $31 million for inpatient psychiatric acute facilities and $50 million to help train an estimated 15,000 unemployed or underemployed people to learn new skills in manufacturing, health care, information technology and construction. “Our administration is putting this $186 million to work now because many communities throughout Massachusetts — especially low-income families and communities of color — have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and cannot wait for assistance,” Baker said in a statement. A look at other coronavirus-related developments in Massachusetts:

___ P-TOWN MASK ADVISORY

A popular tourist town on Cape Cod issued a new mask-wearing advisory on Monday after more than 100 people tested positive following the Fourth of July holiday. The public health advisory from Provincetown officials encourages residents and visitors to the town, a popular LGBTQ+ summer destination, to resume wearing masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. It also urges crowded venues and other businesses where social distancing isn’t possible to verify that patrons are vaccinated. The advisory was approved during an emergency meeting Monday with the town’s select board and board of health.

Dr. Catherine Brown, of the state Department of Public Health, said the state has alerted other jurisdictions about the cluster of cases tied to Provincetown. Local officials said the majority are Massachusetts residents but more than 40 are from out of state. They said more 90% of those infected were men and that their median age is 35. Officials said they’re also investigating how many of those infected were already vaccinated. “I think this last week and since July 4th is just a reminder to us that yes, COVID is still here,” Barnstable County Chief Health Officer Sean O’Brien said.

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