Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition to Phase IV of Reopening Plan
Massachusetts will advance to Step 1 of Phase IV on March 22; Replaces Travel Order with Travel Advisory
BOSTON — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts will advance to Step 1 of Phase IV of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan on Monday, March 22. The Administration continues to take steps to reopen the Commonwealth's economy with public health metrics continuing to trend in a positive direction. This includes drops in average daily COVID cases and hospitalizations. Massachusetts also continues to be a national leader in vaccination rates. The Administration also replaced the Massachusetts Travel Order originally issued in July 2020 with a Travel Advisory, effective March 22.
In addition, the Administration also announced nearly $31 million in awards to 710 additional small businesses in the tenth round of COVID-19 relief grants administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC).
Phase IV, Step 1 and Gathering Changes:
On March 1, Massachusetts loosened capacity restrictions for several industries and advanced to Step 2 of Phase III of the reopening plan. Since then, hospitalizations dropped by 20% and deaths dropped by 24%. The seven day average of new cases in long-term care facilities dropped by 53%. The positive test rate remains below 2% and has been for several weeks now. The seven day average of new cases is also down over this time by 7%.
Effective Monday, March 22, all communities in Massachusetts will move into Step 1 of Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan. This will open a range of previously closed business sectors under tight capacity restrictions that are expected to be adjusted over time if favorable trends in the public health data continue. Effective on the planned advancement to Step 1 of Phase IV, the following large capacity sports and entertainment venues will be permitted to operate at a strict 12% capacity limit after submitting a plan to the Department of Public Health (DPH):
Indoor and outdoor stadiums
Also effective on March 22, gathering limits for event venues and in public settings will increase to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 25 people, with indoor house gatherings remaining at 10 people.
Additionally, dance floors will be permitted at weddings and other events only, and overnight summer camps will be allowed to operate this coming summer. Exhibition and convention halls may also begin to operate, following gatherings limits and event protocols. Other Phase IV sectors must continue to remain closed.
Effective Monday, March 22, the Massachusetts Travel Order will be replaced with a Travel Advisory.
The new travel advisory will urge all persons entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, are advised to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival if they have been out of the state for 24 hours or more.
The advisory does not apply to anyone in the following categories:
Anyone who is returning to Massachusetts after an absence of fewer than 24 hours.
Travelers who have a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts.
Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions (as specified by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) while they are commuting to or from or while at work.
Travelers who are fully vaccinated (i.e. who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 days or more ago and who do not have symptoms).
Travelers are additionally encouraged to consult and follow the CDC’s guidelines and requirements for travel.
1. What is the Cape Cod COVID-19 Vaccine Consortium?
Cape Cod COVID-19 Vaccine Consortium, comprised of Cape Cod Healthcare (CCHC), Barnstable County (BC), Cape Cod Delegation, the towns and community health centers of Cape Cod, with support from Cape Cod Community College (4Cs), have established a large-scale vaccination site at the Cape Cod Community College gymnasium. Cape Cod Healthcare and Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment will operate the vaccination site as of March 1. It will have the capacity to administer more than 750 vaccines per day, five days per week, pending supply from the state.
2. How are Barnstable County and Cape Cod Healthcare working together at the same location to provide vaccines?
Barnstable County and Cape Cod Healthcare will share the site and schedule residents independently from one another.
3. How will eligible residents make an appointment for a Barnstable County Clinic at Cape Cod Community College?
Barnstable County's clinics at Cape Cod Community College will be set up just like any of the regional clinics that Barnstable County holds for eligible residents. Clinics will be announced 24 hours in advance, and appointments will be made using the state's scheduling platform, PrepMod.
4. How will eligible residents make an appointment through Cape Cod Healthcare at Cape Cod Community College?
At this time, Cape Cod Healthcare will not be offering appointments to the public. Cape Cod Healthcare will be contacting (by phone) the most vulnerable population of older residents identified by the local Boards of Health. These residents do not need to be patients of Cape Cod Healthcare.
5. What is the criteria used for tracking the most vulnerable residents on Cape Cod?
With support from councils on aging, police, fire, and other departments in their respective towns, local boards of health are working to identify the most vulnerable older adults in each of their individual municipal boundaries. Elder Services of Cape Cod (the region's ASAP) is also being consulted to cross-reference and reach all vulnerable older adults.
Boards of health within each town will identify vulnerable older adults by town via the below plan to efficiently administer the vaccine to older adults left behind by the current vaccine offerings. Vulnerable older adults will be identified into two tracks:
1. Track One: Individuals who need assistance making a vaccination appointment but are able to travel to Cape Cod Community College. Track One individuals include thosewho are medically vulnerable and/or with limited computer abilities or access.
a. This list will be provided to Cape Cod Healthcare, who will proactively reach out to and schedule these appointments at the Cape Cod Community College site.
2. Track Two: Individuals who are homebound, who do not drive, reside in senior housing, have other confining/limiting factors, etc.
a. This list will be provided to Catchment Area Leads (Outer Cape Health Services; Community Health Center of Cape Cod; Town of Barnstable), who will proactively reach out to and schedule appointments at community health centers, home visits, regional sites, or another location. Homebound is defined as Residents of Barnstable County that have functional impairments that prevent them from leaving their homes. This population generally includes older people with lower-than-average income levels and serious medical problems like dementia, advanced heart conditions, or arthritis. Pertaining to COVID-19, this elder residential demographic is designated as homebound due to these medical challenges/disabilities.
6. Is Cape Cod Healthcare receiving vaccine from the state? How much? Which vaccine?
Yes, in the last week of February, Cape Cod Hospital was added to the state's list of approved hospitals to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine. They are receiving a total of 2,000 doses per week. Cape Cod Healthcare administered 2,000 first doses at the Cape Cod Melody Tent during the week of 2/22 and another 2,000 doses during the week of 3/1, in addition to 2,000-second doses. Cape Cod Healthcare is currently receiving Moderna; This may change.
7. How much and which vaccine is Barnstable County receiving from the state?
The County is receiving 1,070 doses per week. The County is currently receiving the Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and this may change.
8. Will Barnstable County continue to also operate regional sites across Cape Cod in addition to operating clinics at Cape Cod Community College?
Yes, Barnstable County plans to continue operating regional vaccination sites in Eastham, Falmouth, Orleans, and Truro.
9. What are the upcoming Barnstable County clinics?
Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment will be vaccinations on
Tuesday 3/9 and Thursday 3/11 from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM at Cape Cod Community College(single dose clinic – Johnson and Johnson vaccine)
Wednesday, 3/10 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM at the Orleans DPW (2nd dose only – Pfizer vaccine)
Friday, 3/12 from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM at the Orleans Council on Aging (2nd dose only –Pfizer vaccine)
*Please note that Barnstable County’s vaccine schedule is developed week to week.
10. What plans are being made to provide vaccines to our region's homebound?
The Consortium is working with the COVID-19 Command Center & DPH to request additional vaccine supplies for homebound residents (~2,500 residents have been identified as homebound.)
* Homebound is defined as Residents of Barnstable County that have functional impairments that prevent them from leaving their homes. This population generally includes older people with lower-than-average income levels and serious medical problems like dementia, advanced heart conditions, or arthritis. Pertaining to COVID-19, this elder residential demographic is designated as homebound due to these medical challenges/disabilities.
11. How does the County ensure that first-dose people will not get an appointment at a second-dose clinic?
Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment screens and removes anyone who registers for their first dose at a second-dose clinic to ensure there is enough vaccine for the people who need a second dose.
This information is provided by the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment.