Zero, nada, nothing, gutterball, freezing in celsius, null, love, zilch, shutout - how ever you say it - for the first time in forever (you have to sing that like in the Frozen movie) - Massachusetts reported no new deaths today as a result of Covid19 today. I realize this doesn’t actually mean much statistically but emotionally it is huge. It has been such a long time (March 20th was first Massachusetts reported death btw) and I am so happy that I don’t have to write about any of our friends and neighbors dying from this horrible virus.
I almost want to end this right here, zero deaths, the end, mike drop, exit stage left. But I know it isn’t the end and we need to keep working - but 0!!! Thank God. We did have 73 new confirmed cases out of almost 8,000 tests - so below 1% ratio. And more good news - our overall death total dropped by 41 as the state realized it double counted some of the people they reported as a covid death. For those who wonder why I don’t believe in reporting the suspected covid deaths - now ya know.
The Governor did announce that if you are traveling to Mass from most states outside of our immediate area - you must quarantine for 14 days. This guidance does not apply to travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York or New Jersey. Why we are encouraging people from New York and New Jersey to come here seems a bit reckless - not because of the virus - just because they are from New York and New Jersey. Workers designated essential critical infrastructure workers are exempt from quarantining as well. No real guidance on how this is going to be enforced - I guess we have to hope tourists will just add a couple of weeks onto their visit and do this??? Or maybe we can deputize some Karens (sorry for my friends who are actually named Karen) to follow people from the airport or be on the look out for out of state plates and make sure they are in lock down. That might prove entertaining if nothing else.
In the legislature, we did pass the conferenced early voting bill today which will provide for extended early voting days and times in the fall as well as mail everyone an application for an early ballot. This was the compromise as some wanted early ballots to be mailed en masse - which would have been a disaster. I would have preferred a postcard - to save about a million dollars (that could go to our schools and other town needs, hint, hint) but I couldn’t get the majority party to agree to that cost saving measure. Won the big one, lost the little one - I’ll take it.
There is one group of people out there who I would like to give a shout out to today - all the employees of Norwood Hospital. These people have been our heroes during this entire crisis, going above and beyond, putting themselves in harms way in order to save others, being the compassionate care givers of our loved ones in their final moments here on earth. They went through so much and then this crazy storm opened up and had catastrophic results on the hospital.
I knew there was flooding but I kind of just assumed you got service master in there with some wet vacs, replaced some carpeting and PPE, and they would be back in business in a few days. In speaking with officials at the hospital today - I was shocked at how bad it is and they might not be fully operational for months - maybe even years, depending on the final analysis of the damage. Evidently it came up from the bottom at the same time as the downpour flooded the roof and breached the hospital from above. All the electrical is fried, tons of highly specialized equipment is ruined, and now there is the fight against mold. Mold can be toxic if it is in the walls or ducts of your house - so obviously it is a complete horror show if it is in the walls of a hospital.
I was working with Governor Baker and with my good friend who is Chief of Surgery over at Norwood tonight on getting the feds to allow for an emergency declaration for expedited transfer of privileges so these docs can work at other area hospitals. Same for all the other staff - getting them placed and in positions where they continue to help all of us is crucial. I bust Charlie’s balls often enough, but in times like these he is awesome and his health care background really shines through. I called him and he immediately jumped into gear and even called my friend after 8 pm to find out exactly what he needed and what he could do to help. Gotta love a Governor who still will take my calls even though we argue on a lot of issues and is still working well into the night (it’s after 11 and we are still texting about this).
So please say a prayer for all of those brave men and women who are now uncertain what their future will bring. They were there for us - we need to be there for them. And if this virus has taught us nothing else - having kick ass medical care is so incredibly important in this day and age and we are truly blessed to live in the epicenter of cutting edge medicine.
Sorry to negate my super positive 0 talk with this dose of reality at the end. It was surprising to me and as someone who knows a ton of people who work there and rely on Norwood for their care - I can not put into words what a tremendous loss this will be for our community - hopefully it is on the shorter end of getting back to operational status (at least partial) but this is 2020 - and that just ain’t how this year rolls.
Keep doing what you are doing and let's hope for a few more zero days in our future.
Stay strong and keep the faith!