Saturday, May 23, 2020

"Massachusetts is not alone in facing unprecedented circumstances"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"The Massachusetts unemployment rate surged above 15% in April, smashing four and a half decades of records as the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public shutdowns caused massive job losses.

State labor officials announced Friday that Massachusetts shed 623,000 jobs in April, the first full month during which non-essential businesses were ordered to close their physical locations to employees and customers and most residents were urged to stay at home whenever possible.

From March to April, the unemployment rate increased 12.3 percentage points to 15.1%, the highest level since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking seasonally adjusted unemployment rates at the state level in 1976. The numbers reflect the waves of new jobless claims that have been filed in recent weeks, and show how far the state now has to go to both defeat the virus and return people to their old jobs or new ones.

Michael Goodman, executive director of the UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center and a co-editor of MassBenchmarks, said joblessness in Massachusetts may not have reached such elevated levels since the recession immediately following World War II."
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"Crisis communications professionals told the Daily News that nursing homes would be wise to share the number of fatalities, even if that means communicating rising death tolls.

“You have to be credible in crisis communications, because if your community loses trust in you, you are dead in the water,” said Capt. Thomas Lennon, a retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain and current chair of the emergency management department at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Administrators at North Hill and Briarwood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Needham had already publicly announced 27 of the 33 reported deaths in the town before the town officially announced the first known COVID-19 related deaths.

Both skilled-nursing facilities hired Ball Consulting Group LLC - a crisis communications firm based in Newton - to help with external messaging during the pandemic."

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