By Bob Katzen

The House and Senate approved and sent to Gov.Baker a $101 million COVID-19 response bill. Key provisions include increasing the number of COVID-19 testing sites and COVID-19 tests; the acquisition and distribution of high-quality personal protective masks, including N95s and KN95s, to be distributed to health care workers and children and faculty in elementary and secondary public-school districts; increasing vaccination rates among kids ages five to 11 whose vaccination rates remain low in comparison to older residents; and recapitalizing the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program. The measure also mandates that the Baker administration pursue the highest allowable rate of federal reimbursement for the $101 million package.

“Today, we are pleased to announce an agreement on a supplemental spending bill that directs $101 million to address critical, time-sensitive needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair Sen. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport). “With this agreement, we support our ongoing pandemic response efforts by including $75 million for masks, rapid tests and vaccine equity efforts that support children, educators, front-line health care workers, small businesses, our most vulnerable populations and communities disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.”

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