CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)– Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse held a Facebook LIVE online broadcast to update residents on the COVID-19 situation in Holyoke. Nearly 1500 people tuned in, with many posting questions and comments.
The mayor said his office continues to receive calls from people who have family members at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke who say they are still having trouble getting information about their loved ones. Morse promised that the city will be vigilant about better communication from the facility. He said there is a hotline set up for family members that is staffed by social workers Monday-Friday 8am-6pm, and Saturday 9am-1pm. The hotline number is 413-552-4764.
Morse also discussed the Internet Essentials Program, a partnership between Holyoke Public Schools and Comcast to help needy students get internet access in an effort to support homeschooling. The school department will pay for the service over the next 6 months. 1500 laptops have been issued to students across the city. More details on the program will be made available in a few days.
Another topic was nursing home facilities. Morse said Holyoke’s Board of Health is contacting all nursing home and rehab facilities in the city for status updates and to make sure they are getting the support they need to meet COVID-19 safety protocols. Morse said his office continues to be contacted by employees and family members with complaints and concerns.
Morse also said the city has been scouting for empty buildings in an effort to create additional shelter and quarantine facilities in case the number of confirmed cases rise above what medical facilities can currently hold.
Mayor Morse and Mayor Joseph Curtatone of Somerville co-authored a letter to Governor Baker asking for the establishment of shelters and quarantine facilities to support and protect vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis. The letter was signed by an additional 23 Mayors and Town Administrators from all over the State.