Page 2 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 2021 Mass. 1st in nation to get OK for federal Pandemic-EBT funds extension for local families $1.94 Like us on Facebook advocate newspaper Facebook.com/ Advocate.news.ma Everett, Malden, Revere and Saugus families will receive additional help against food insecurity By Steve Freker T here was some good news this week for thousands of Massachusetts families, including many of those in Everett, Malden, Revere and Saugus struggling with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Many local families with school-aged children will be among the first in the nation to receive extra financial assistance to combat food insecurity. State officials have announced that federal funding has been approved to continue the Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program through the end of the 2020-21 school year. In Malden, Everett and Revere, for instance, all families who have public school students in their households are eligible for P-EBT funds for the 2020-21 school year to help buy food. The funds that will be dispensed through the state-run program, using federal funds, are restricted to food purchases. Saugus families should check with local officials regarding P-EBT funds eligibility. The primary determining factor is if students are attending schools who benefit from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or the School Breakfast Program (SBP). How much will families reSURGE | FROM PAGE 1 Phase One vaccines next week At Monday’s meeting, Saugus Director of Public Health John Fralick said the town’s first responders – firefighters, police and EMTs – should be receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week. Saugus will receive 145 doses of the Moderna vaccine for its first responders. The vaccine is being made available to Saugus under its partnership with Andover, Lynnfield, Reading and North Reading through the Cape Ann Emergency Preparedness Coalition. Andover serves as the host community of the coalition. Phase One of ceive? Families of students in a fully remote learning situation will get $117.20 per month. Students in a hybrid learning situation will get $58.60 per month. Students attending school either half-day or fully in person are not eligible for P-EBT. Massachusetts received federal approval to issue P-EBT through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. The Bay State is the first in the nation to receive approval for the federal dollars. “COVID-19 has exacerbated food insecurity, especially for children who receive nutrition support in school settings. This remains a significant challenge for many families throughout the Commonwealth,” Secretary of Health and Human Services and COVID-19 Command Center Director Marylou Sudthe state’s vaccine distribution also includes health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Phase Two of the vaccine distribution under Gov. Charlie Baker’s plans will start in mid to late February and last through April. It includes individuals with two-plus comorbidities (high risk for COVID-19 complications); early education, K-12, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works and public health workers; adults who are 65 and older and individuals with one comorbidity. The third phase of the governor’s vaccine distribution will cover the general public and be available sometime in April. “If we get a solid play book to operate, we will be ready to go,” Fralick said of the logistics of future vaccine distribution clinics. Who were the 52 residents who died? Nurse Riley-Singh told the Board of Health that 90 percent of the 52 Saugus residents who have died from COVID-19 were over the age of 70. She added that 30 percent of the dead were in rehab and long-term care facilities. Ten percent of the people who died were between the ages of 50 and 70, she said. Veteran Board of Health Member Joia Cicolini thanked Riley-Singh for presenting this age statistic. “On a personal note, people should not think it [COVID-19] just affects older ders said in a statement. “Massachusetts continues to maximize every opportunity to tackle food insecurity across the state. The rapid approval of our plan to issue P-EBT through the end of the school year will provide relief to hundreds of thousands of families across the state for many months as we continue to navigate this public health crisis.” P-EBT is a relief program created out of the CARES Act for families whose children qualify for free and reduced lunch. The program was launched in Massachusetts in April to help low-income families across the state cover the cost of missed school meals while their children learn remotely. It was extended in September to support students starting the school P-EBT | SEE PAGE 16 people,” Cicolini said. “We buried my 52-year-old cousin just before Christmas, so it does affect younger people. He was healthy – no underlying conditions.” During Monday’s meeting, Fralick fielded questions from Cicolini and other board members on the enforcement of COVID-19 rules in Saugus and the state of businesses complying with the regulations. “From what I’ve seen, the compliance levels are where they need to be,” Fralick said. Cicolini asked whether there were any large gatherings and how restaurants were complying. “According to our police chief, we haven’t been getting any reports regarding large super-spreader events,” Fralick said. “We haven’t had any egregious violations … I think at this point, everybody is aware of the protocols that they need to follow,” he said. When the large stores in town have been linked to COVID-19 outbreaks, they have responded well and have been diligent in addressing problems as they arise, according to Fralick. When employees test positive for the virus, Fralick said, he treats it seriously. “We’ve set a protocol for all establishments. They need to test negative to return,” Fralick said. “That’s something we haven’t skimped on … It is a Saugus policy that they need to test negative to return to work,” he said.

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