Gov. Baker Announces COVID-19 Response Command Center

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts is ramping up its efforts to fight coronavirus. Governor Charlie Baker's Administration has announced the creation of a COVID-19 Response Command Center.

In a press conference outside the Statehouse on Saturday at 11 a.m., Gov. Baker said the Command Center will be "the Commonwealth’s single point of strategic decision making and coordination for the Administration’s comprehensive COVID-19 response."

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In a press release, the Baker-Polito Administration said:

“Our administration has been working for weeks to address the outbreak of COVID-19, and the new Response Command Center we are launching today is an important step in our planning and preparedness efforts. Led by Secretary Marylou Sudders, this team of experts will focus solely on pushing back against this disease and moving quickly to respond to the needs of our communities and residents.”

The state's COVID-19 Command Center will have "complete authority and discretion to tap whatever state funds are necessary." That includes the $15 million recently appropriated by the Legislature for coronavirus.

According to a press release, the Command Center will:

· Work to expand lab capacity for testing

· Plan quarantine operations

· Coordinate communication and guidance across government

· Respond to the needs of our local boards of health

· Monitor supply chains

· Identify surge capacity in the Commonwealth’s health network.

The Center will also hold daily briefings with local officials including the Governor, key secretariats and agencies, and local boards of public health.

The creation of a COVID-19 Response Command Center comes a day after Gov. Baker announced an emergency order prohibiting the gather of more than 250 people, and after Mayor Marty Walsh ordered the closure of all Boston Public Schools.

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