Co-Chairs Driscoll & Comerford Invite Gov. Baker to Testify at Upcoming Oversight Hearing

January 5, 2022

The Honorable Governor Baker

Office of the Governor

24 Beacon Street, Room 280

Boston, MA 02133


Dear Governor Baker,


As the Commonwealth experiences an unprecedented COVID spike — where it is clear that all sectors are affected and our concerns and questions increase — we write to request your participation in a joint oversight hearing of the COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management Committee to be held early the week of January 10, 2022.


On December 8, 2021, the Joint Committee invited members of your administration to an oversight hearing focused on the Omicron variant and other emergent COVID-19 issues. Subsequent to the oversight hearing, the Joint Committee sent you a letter on December 16 requesting your further consideration of a mask mandate and seeking clarity and or action related to the intensified work around vaccine equity, meeting publicly-stated goals, efforts to strengthen hospitals amid the surge, and more.


During this next hearing, we will want to understand your response to the points raised in the December 16 letter as well as the actions your administration is taking related to:

  1. Expanding equitable access to COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and boosters;

  2. The state’s role in COVID-19 related commodity (PPE, testing) management and distribution as well as the current status of the emergency supply stockpile;

  3. Efforts or plans regarding vaccine status verification or requirements;

  4. Stabilization of all sectors in the Commonwealth and preparation for possible prolonged or future disruption due to Omicron or other COVID-19 variants.

We will work with our colleagues in the legislature and your team and any other partners you deem relevant to send you questions in advance of the hearing so that the administration has adequate time to prepare.


We acknowledge and appreciate your administration’s work to leverage the help of the National Guard, the distribution of 2.1 million rapid antigen tests, and the bulk purchasing program for municipalities, but these efforts were deployed with little lead time before the post holiday, chaotic back-to-school period.


We have all been told for many weeks by global experts that this surge was coming.

Our hospital emergency rooms are near or at capacity and other hospital services are stretched far too thin. We see hundreds of individuals and families — trying to do the right thing to protect themselves and their communities — waiting in impossibly long testing lines, often in the bitter cold. Schools are reeling as staffing challenges mount.


We are eager to understand your efforts to address the immediate challenges before us due to the Omicron surge and efforts to navigate the coming months. We want to understand the protective measures and mitigation strategies that are in place or being explored by the administration for our children, our families, our workers, our business, and our institutions.


We welcome your timely reply to this invitation and look forward to working with your team to find the earliest possible, mutually-agreeable date and time.


Sincerely,


Bill Driscoll Jr., House Chair

Joint Committee on COVID-19 
and Emergency Preparedness and Management


Jo Comerford, Senate Chair

Joint Committee on COVID-19
 and Emergency Preparedness and Management

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