JUNE 14, 2021…..In less than six hours, the state of emergency that has been in place since March 10, 2020 will end, and with it, a batch of pandemic-era policies will expire — at least temporarily.
The Legislature is moving toward keeping in place authorization for remote public meetings, eviction protections, and restaurant relief. But after both branches adjourned for the day Monday, any final vote on an extension will not come until, at the earliest, hours after the emergency declaration lifts at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
Over the 462 days Massachusetts lived under a state of emergency, the fabric of public life changed dramatically. Workers in front-line, essential positions coped with new risks simply to do their jobs. Others shifted from the office to home, oftentimes juggling child care because school buildings spent months shuttered. Roughly 1 million Bay Staters turned to unemployment aid after losing their jobs.
From the start of the pandemic through Monday, 662,855 Massachusetts residents — nearly one out of every 10 in the state — tested positive for COVID-19, 44 of whom were included in the Department of Public Health’s latest daily report. Another 46,078 had probable cases, and an untold number more contracted the virus and were either unable to access tests or unaware they had it.
Eight more residents died from the virus, DPH said Monday. When including those with probable but not test-confirmed cases, the cumulative death toll through the last day before the emergency ends stands at 17,947, roughly equivalent to the population of Rockland.
Gov. Charlie Baker and other officials have warned that the end to the emergency declaration does not mean COVID-19 no longer poses a threat. The number of patients in Massachusetts hospitals with the virus increased by five to 138 in Monday’s report, DPH said.
Many measures of the virus’s impact do indicate, though, that its impact is weakening as the state approaches the Baker administration’s goal of 4.1 million residents fully vaccinated. DPH’s estimate of active cases, which topped out at 98,750 in January, now stands at 2,636.