Mass. COVID-19 public health emergency ending May 11

THE COVID-19 PUBLIC health emergency in Massachusetts will end May 11, the same day the federal public health emergency is set to expire, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey announced Wednesday.  ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO / JESSICA RINALDI  

PROVIDENCE – The COVID-19 public health emergency in Massachusetts will end May 11, the same day the federal public health emergency is set to expire, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey announced Wednesday. 

“Thanks to the hard work of our health care providers and communities, we’ve made important progress in the fight against COVID-19,” Healey said. “We know that we have the tools to manage this virus – vaccines, masking, testing, getting treatments and staying home when sick – and we’ve reached the point where we can update our guidance to reflect where we are now. I’d also like to acknowledge the leadership of Gov. Baker and his administration, who saved countless lives by putting these important measures in place in a time of immense crisis.” 

The vaccine mandate for Massachusetts state workers in the executive branch will also expire on May 11. 

“Executive Order No. 595 has been a successful tool for boosting vaccination rates and reducing the spread and severity of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. We’re grateful to the state employees who did their part to keep themselves, their coworkers and their communities safe,” said Mass. Lt. Governor Driscoll. “We encourage Massachusetts residents to continue taking important prevention measures to keep our communities healthy, like getting boosted, masking and staying home when you’re feeling sick.” 

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In Rhode Island, Gov. Daniel J. McKee has repeatedly extended the original order issued by then-Gov. Gina M. Raimondo on March 1, 2020. McKee’s latest extension is set to expire on April 10.  

McKee spokesperson Olivia Darocha confirmed on March 2 that Rhode Island “plans to time the ending of its emergency declaration with the ending of the federal declaration [on May 11] as announced by President Biden.” 

Healey on Wednesday also said she will file legislation that would extend key flexibilities provided by the public health emergency, particularly around staffing for the health care industry and emergency medical services. 

Gov. Healey’s legislation would:   

  • Continue flexibilities currently in place regarding staffing for out-of-hospital dialysis centers. This would apply for 6 months to allow dialysis centers time to return to pre-COVID staffing levels.     
  • Authorize certain non-Medication Administration Program certified staff to administer certain prepackaged medications in community settings. This would apply for 6 months to enable DPH to finalize reforms that streamline the MAP program training requirements.  
  • Allow staffing of Advanced Life Support level ambulance transports with a single EMT provider and a first responder driver (rather than 2 certified EMTs). This would be a permanent change based on the positive experience of this staffing model over the last three years. 

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