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CAI News

Liz Lerner

Hotels, motels, inns, and short term rentals can only host displaced Massachusetts residents and essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, according to state orders announced Tuesday. 

That order includes healthcare workers, first responders, and those who are trying to self-quarantine, and exlcudes those seeking vacation or leisure.  

Eve Zuckoff

At Orleans Whole Food Store on the town’s Main Street the phone is almost always ringing now.  

 

For the umpteenth time, clerk Elaine Peluso-Farris helped a customer place an order for curbside pickup. 

 

“A clam shell?,” she repeats back. “Yeah, we are pretty wiped out. Let me see what I have.”

 

This is the the new normal for the specialty grocery store: plexiglass barriers, a ban on reusable bags, and a new delivery service by local honors students. 

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The $2 trillion dollar stimulus package the President signed last week is far-reaching and includes money for individuals and provisions aimed at stemming the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WCAI's Kathryn Eident talked with Representative William Keating (D-Mass.) about what's in the bill and what he's working on to address the pandemic. 

Sargent Mike Assad Jr./Mashpee Police Department

With school closures extended until May 4th, parents are struggling to keep their kids occupied. But a growing number of community members are taking to Facebook for virtual story-times. 

 

“Good morning, boys and girls,” exclaimed Sargent Mike Assad Jr. in a video posted to the Mashpee Police Department’s Facebook page. “I’m going to read you guys another story today.”  

Eve Zuckoff

Last month, Aran Mooney, an associate scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), could be found peering into massive tubs in the wet lab where he works.

 

“We’re giving lobsters a hearing test,” he said over the lab’s hum in late February. 

 

Mooney studies how all kinds of animals—turtles, whales, shrimp—hear and make sounds. But in recent weeks, all of that research has stopped.

Alecia Orsini

Governor Baker said today he expects the surge of COVID-19 patients to hit Massachusetts hospitals between April 7 and 17, giving the state just a week or two to prepare hospitals and the medical community. 

Baker says the state is in the process of purchasing protective equipment for first responders and medical workers, recruiting retired medical professionals to help, and planning to convert facilities like nursing homes into care centers for COVID-19 to free up hospital beds.

https://www.southcoast.org/

A COVID-19 testing site opened on the South Coast this week. As with other testing locations, it’s a drive-through site staffed by nurses in full protective gear.

L. Lerner

Cape Cod Healthcare says it could run out of at least one type of personal protective equipment in as little as eight days if no replenishment arrives.

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Towns on Martha's Vineyard have shelter-in-place orders in effect as officials attempt to curb the rise of COVID-19. Those orders include a ban on construction. Governor Charlie Baker pushed back on Wednesday, saying island towns could not issue orders that contradict or supercede what Baker himself put in place. WCAI's Kathryn Eident talked with Chilmark Selectman James Malkin to talk about how he and other island officials are responding. 

Eve Zuckoff

Nearly 7 million Massachusetts residents have been advised to stay home, but that doesn’t apply to those who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and projects.

 

Paul, a construction laborer in Hyannis, didn’t want to use his last name for fear of retribution, but said the company he works for employs around 100 people who repair roads and maintains sewers. That means he and his partner still have to go to work. 

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Wednesday was the first full day Governor Charlie Baker's order to close all non-essential businesses was in effect. But Provincetown, and several other local towns, issued even stricter limitations in the hope of stemming the spread of COVID-19 before Baker issued his new restrictions.

WCAI's Kathryn Eident talked with Steve Katsurinis, Board of Health Chairman in Provincetown, about the town's emergency shelter-in-place order that went into effect Monday.   

Eve Zuckoff

While toilet paper is in high demand and low supply, some may be turning to sanitary wipes, but towns throughout the state are urging people to stop flushing them before it’s too late.

“[Wipes] are the bane of every wastewater treatment operator in the world and every septic maintenance guy in the world,” said Brian Baumgaertel, director of the Massachusetts Alternative Septic Test Center in Sandwich. “They can easily plug up the pumps and all the electronic stuff that’s keeping the wastewater moving away from your home.” 

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Lawmakers have been busy on Beacon Hill, moving legislation aimed at addressing the impacts of the coronavirus epidemic. That includes a bill allowing towns and cities to postpone town meetings, elections and other events that would force people to gather in large numbers. Senator Julian Cyr of Truro is on the state's COVID-19 working group, a body that's looking into other measures that might need to be taken to stem the crisis.

Eve Zuckoff

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker ordered the closure of all non-essential brick and mortar businesses in the state to help slow the spread of COVID-19 on Monday.

The closure order goes into effect on Tuesday, March 24, at noon and is effective until April 7 at noon.

This move comes just as the number of confirmed cases in the state reached 777, up from 646 the day before. Nine people have died from the virus in Massachusetts.

http://www.bsheriff.net/

Guards and medical staff are taking extra precautions with inmates at the Barnstable County Correctional Facility in Bourne, as the COVID-19 epidemic continues to grow. 

WCAI's Kathryn Eident talked with Sheriff James Cummings about what he's doing to screen inmates and staff in an effort to keep COVID-19 from contaminating the jail.

Sarah Mizes-Tan / WCAI

In the wake of a state-wide ban on gatherings of more than 25 people, Alcoholics Anonymous groups across the region are adapting with the help of technology. 

Eve Zuckoff

Amid warnings that COVID-19 can last on surfaces for two to three days, businesses, schools, and organizations are doubling down on commitments to clean common spaces.

Jennette Barnes

As coronavirus testing began at a drive-through site at Cape Cod Community College, it was a slow start on a rainy morning, with only one car arriving during a 90-minute period.

Jennette Barnes

Continuing coverage of coronavirus impact on Cape Cod.

Here you'll find our latest updates.

Jennette Barnes / WCAI

 

Nips. The miniature bottles can be a convenient way to buy a single serving of spirits. But some Cape Cod towns are joining a growing conversation about nip litter — and what all those bottles on the ground say about public health.

Dan Tritle

Martha’s Vineyard’s newest representative to the Steamship Authority board of governors says his top priorities are reliable service, better communication, and fair prices.

James Malkin, a Chilmark selectman, was sworn into the position on Tuesday after a unanimous vote by the Dukes County Commission.

Eve Zuckoff

Massachusetts residents concerned about plans to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions expressed deep concerns at a public hearing in Fall River on Tuesday about what several described as the state’s “slow” pace and “limited” goals.

“With all due respect,” Nancy Lee Wood, director of the Institute for Sustainability and Post-Carbon Education at Bristol Community College, said to representatives from the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, “this is kindergarten compared to what we really have facing us.”

Eve Zuckoff

Susan Moran, a democrat from Falmouth, and Jay McMahon III, a republican from Bourne, will compete in a general election later this month to fill the Plymouth and Barnstable District seat after winning their respective primaries on Tuesday.

Eve Zuckoff

Voter turnout appeared to be strong across Massachusetts on primary day, thanks in part to spring-like weather. 

 

“It's a right as a citizen of this country, and I think it's important that everybody gets their voices heard,”  said Priscilla Bartlett of Mashpee. “I don't care how [people] vote, just that they vote.”

Bart Weisman

Bart Weisman is a jazz drummer, teacher and concert organizer who's very active on the Cape Cod music scene. His career has taken him from Washington, D.C. to the Air Force band to the Cape, where he performs in a variety of musical settings, teaches at the Cape Conservatory and the Sturgis Charter Public School, and organizes the annual Provincetown Jazz Festival.

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