Florence L. Steeves, 86

Florence L. (Martel) Steeves, 86, a longtime resident of Quincy, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family at her home on Friday March 27.

Florence Steeves

Born in Laconia NH, she was a daughter of the late Irenee Martel and Yvonne (Sevigny).  Proudly French-Canadian, Florence was raised in an entirely French-speaking household and learned English only upon entering first grade in 1939. Florence was employed by the Stop & Shop Supermaket Co. in Quincy as a cashier for many years, a job she loved, retiring in 1997.  Additionally she was a volunteer at the gift shop at Quincy Hospital, and CareOne at Weymouth.

Florence was what some might call a sports fanatic, following all of the Boston sports teams including the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots, the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins.  Flo rarely missed a game on television or an opportunity to tell you what one or another of the teams was doing wrong and how it could be corrected.  One of the greatest joys of her life was the Red Sox World Series victory in 2004 when her hooting and hollering from her living room during the late night finish was later reported to have been heard from the International Space Station.  At the time of her death, she remained disappointed in Tom Brady’s tragic decision to leave the Patriots.

Florence was the beloved wife of the late Eugene K. Steeves, and the devoted mother of Nancy M. McDonald and her husband Tim of Quincy, the late Martin L. Steeves who died in 2013, and a dedicated caregiver and constant companion of her daughter, Carol Steeves of Weymouth.  She was the proud grandmother, known lovingly as Meme, of Eliza, Maeve, and Fiona McDonald all of Quincy and attended every single one of their dance recitals and every play and musical in which they ever appeared at St. Ann School, St. Agatha School and Fontbonne Academy. She was the sister of Grace Montplaisir of NH and Alice Parzek of FL, Robert Martel of SC, Donat Martel of NH, Helene Stentiford of Wakefield, and the late Laurette Baillargeon, Rachel Pelczar, Blanche Mansour, Lucille Houde, and Lucien, Edmond, Leo, and Rolland Martel.  She is also survived by more than 100 nieces and nephews.

In light of current circumstances, immediate services are private.  A memorial gathering and service is planned for this summer or early fall, and will be announced on the funeral home website.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Florence’s name to Fontbonne Academy for the The Good Fountain Players C/O Fontbonne Academy, 930 Brook Rd. Milton, MA 02186.

Traditionally, the funeral is an opportunity for the community to gather in support of one another. Although we cannot gather together with Florence’s family at this time, friends may still offer their support by visiting www.Keohane.com and sharing a special memory or message.  For those who cannot access the website, please call 1-800-KEOHANE to have your message added.

Harold J. ‘Harry’ Merrill, Jr., 94

Harold J. “Harry” Merrill, Jr., age 94, of Braintree, formerly of Quincy, passed away, peacefully, Sunday, March 29, 2020, at the John Bertram House in Salem, in the comfort of his loving family.

Harold Merrill

Beloved husband of the late Clara M. (Marcucci) Merrill.

Devoted father of Robert J. Merrill of San Diego, Calif., Lynn Raymond and her husband Reid of Norfolk, Va., and Debra M. Martineau and her husband Philip of Beverly.

Loving Pa of Jeff, Amy, Kimberly, Philip, Andrew, Brian, Brenda, Shawn, and Kelly.

Cherished great grandfather of eight.

One of three siblings, he was the dear brother of Mary E. Priscella of Braintree and the late Catherine E. Elliott.

Harry is also survived by many nieces, nephews, friends, and devoted neighbors who provided caring support for him over the past several years.

Born in Quincy, to the late Harold J. and Catherine L. (Roberts) Merrill, he was raised and educated in Quincy, and had lived in Braintree for the past sixty-three years.

Harry was a proud World War II veteran, having served honorably in the U.S. Army with the 355th Infantry Regiment. He participated in the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns and received the World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Service Medal, and the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal.

A founding member of the Adams Heights Men’s Club of Quincy, he served as a manager there for many years.

Harry made many dear friends over his lifetime. He will be remembered for his great sense of humor. He always knew how to make people laugh. Harry had a passion for his family and of life, and sincerely appreciated all those who cared for him. He “loved all sooooo much!”

In light of current events, Harry’s interment at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne took place privately. A celebration of Harry’s life will be held at a later date.

For those who wish, donations in Harry’s memory may be made to the John Bertram House, 29 Washington Square, Salem, MA 01970.

Arrangements under the direction of the Sweeney Brothers Home for Funerals, 1 Independence Ave., Quincy.

You are invited to visit www.thesweeneybrothers.com or call 617-472-6344.

Baker-Polito Administration Extends Non-Essential Business Closures To May 4th

The Baker-Polito Administration announced Tuesday (March 31) several updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak including extending the non-essential business emergency order and guidance for Executive Branch employees until May 4.

The Department of Public Health’s Stay-At-Home Advisory remains in effect. The Administration also updated the “COVID-19 Essential Services” categories for businesses and other organizations that provide essential services and workforces related to COVID-19 that are permitted to operate brick and mortar facilities during the emergency.

Essential Services Order: Governor Charlie Baker’s emergency order requiring that all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public will be extended until May 4. Businesses and organizations not on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operations through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order. This order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people until May 4th.

The Administration updated the “COVID-19 Essential Services” list today, which is based on federal guidance that was updated earlier this week. The new list will go into effect tomorrow, April 1, at noon.  While these businesses are designated as essential, they are urged to follow social distancing protocols for workers in accordance with guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH).

Some of the updates to the essential services list include:

  • Clarity around the supply chain that supports other essential services
  • Adding health care providers like chiropractors and optometrists
  • Expanding the types of workers providing disinfectant and sanitation services

Click here for the essential services extension order.

Click here for the full list of categories of “COVID-19 Essential Services.” (PDF)

Click here for COVID-19 Essential Services FAQs created by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

Hotel/Motel Guidance: As part of the updated essential business list, DPH issued new guidance today around hotels, motels, inns, beds and breakfasts and other short-term residential rentals. Based on this new guidance, hotels, motels, and short-term rentals may only be used for efforts related to fighting COVID-19, like front line health workers or individuals, or for Massachusetts residents who have been otherwise displaced from their residences.

Click here for the Hotel/Motel Guidance.

Stay at Home Advisory: Last week, Governor Charlie Baker directed DPH to issue a stay-at-home advisory, and the Governor announced today that the advisory will remain in effect. Residents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary person to person contact during this time period. Residents who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19  should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible

Click here for the Stay-At-Home Advisory.

Executive Branch Employee Guidance: The Baker-Polito Administration today also extended the guidance issued to Executive Branch employees on protocol during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure state government can continue to provide key services while protecting the health and safety of the public and the Executive Branch workforce. Under the guidance, all employees performing non-core functions who are able to work remotely should continue to do so until May 4. Full guidance will be sent to Executive Branch employees later today

Some Executive Branch services and walk-in offices remain open, but residents are encouraged to use online services when available. For the status of in-person Executive Branch office locations, please click here.

Field Medical Station Announcement: The Commonwealth, through MEMA, has requested and received approval for a Field Medical Station that will provide additional medical care capacity as the state plans for a surge in cases. The federal Strategic National Stockpile has approved a 250-bed field medical station that will be deployed to the DCU Center in the City of Worcester this week. This temporary facility will be managed by UMass Memorial and staffed by a partnership including the City of Worcester and others. The temporary field medical center will be used to treat lower acuity patients who still need monitoring.

Nursing/Rest Home Program: The Commonwealth is implementing a pilot project that allows for safe, on-site testing of symptomatic residents of nursing and rest homes with a quick turnaround. The pilot will operate under the auspices of the Massachusetts National Guard in partnership with the Department of Public Health and Broad Institute of Cambridge, and samples will be collected by trained personnel from the Massachusetts National Guard. Prior to this launch, the only way for nursing home residents to be tested would be to be transported to a hospital or physician’s office.

Members of the public should continue checking www.mass.gov/covid19 for the latest information on impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Donna LaPenna

Donna LaPenna (Iacovelli) passed away at her home after recent health issues March 30, 2020.
Donna LaPenna

Donna was loved by so many. She loved to cook, sew, shop, take road trips, especially to Florida, watch crime shows, and be with her family, particularly her grandchildren. She always looked forward to her lunch dates with her school friends. Donna was always the one who made you laugh and always knew the right thing to say. She was the best Mother and Nonnie.

She is survived by her husband Bob, her daughters Dawn LaPenna. Carrie LaPenna-Sullivan, Lauren LaPenna,Donna Peterson and her son Michael J. Sullivan. Her grandchildren Andrew and Anthony Sullivan and her granddaughter Sophia LaPenna. Also her sister’s Mary Ioannilli and Linda Grazioso her Brother Johnny Iacovelli and her many beloved nieces and nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Donna may be made to American Heart Association, P.O. Box 417005, Boston, MA 02241-7005. Normally, the funeral is an opportunity for the community to gather in support of one another. Although we cannot gather together with Donna’s family at this time, friends may still offer their support by visiting www.Keohane.com and sharing a special memory or message. For those who cannot access the website, please call 1-800-KEOHANE to have your message added.

Number Of COVID-19 Deaths, Cases In Quincy Up To 7, 89 Respectively

The number of COVID-19 cases and virus-related deaths in Quincy continues to climb with seven residents who have passed away from complications and a reported 89 cases in the city. Quincy also reports 22 residents with symptoms of COVID-19 have recovered as of Monday, March 30.

Statewide, there have been 56 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 5,752 cases as of Monday, March 30. Counties with the highest number of reported coronavirus cases are Middlesex (1,114), Suffolk (1,115) and Norfolk (628)

The city also announced Monday that the due date for fourth-quarter property tax bills has been extended until June 1.

Deadlines for property tax exemptions and deferral applications are extended from April 1 to June 1.

The City of Quincy Park Department has also closed all basketball courts throughout the city due to a concern that people were not practicing proper social distancing.

Other information:

• Governor Charlie Baker has issued an executive order to further extend the closure of all Massachusetts schools and all non emergency child care programs until May 4, 2020.

  • A temporary emergency order has been issued that prohibits the use of reusable bags until further notice. Retailers will provide bags free of charge during this time.
  • Governor Charlie Baker ordered all non-essential businesses to close no later than noon on Tuesday, March 24. The order does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies and many other services deemed essential. For a full list of essential services included in the Governor’s order, please click here.
  • The Governor also reduced the maximum number of group assemblies to 10 people, down from 25. Additional guidance on that order, can be found here.
  • A Wollaston Elementary School Grade 5 teacher, who was last in school on March 12, has tested positive for COVID-19. In a letter to Grade 5 parents, Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro asked that children in the class self-isolate in their home until March 26 as a precaution, based on the recommendation from Health Commissioner Ruth Jones.
  • All day-care facilities except Exempt Emergency Childcare Centers to serve families of first-responders and front-line medical personnel are closed.
  • City offices are closed to the public. The City will still operate and offices will still be staffed, but residents will be required to conduct business via telephone, the Internet or through the mail. No emergency services will be impacted. For a full list of department phone numbers and contact information, please click here.
  • All playgrounds in Quincy are closed, but park spaces are open.
  • Students can pick up “Grab and Go” meals at North Quincy High School, Quincy High, Snug Harbor and Lincoln-Hancock. Meals will be available from 11 AM to noon. Additional details are available on QPS website.  To visit the site, please click here.
  • All restaurants and bars in Quincy are not allowed to serve food or beverages on site.
  • Any gathering should maintain “social distancing” meaning people stay further six feet away from each other at all times.
  • All public regulatory boards are postponed until at least April 7.
  • All public facilities will continue to undergo aggressive environmental cleaning on a daily basis.
  • Mayor Koch will use $1 million from the City’s Affordable Housing Trust to assist workers in the City’s hospitality industry and maintain their housing during prolonged closures. The full details of the program will be developed in the coming days.

Best Practices

  • Residents in potentially vulnerable populations, such as seniors and those with underlying medical conditions, are advised to stay home.
  • Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses such as Coronavirus:
    • Avoid large gatherings.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
    • Stay home if you are sick. If you are ill call your healthcare provider for instructions before going to a clinic, office or emergency room.
  • There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this novel coronavirus infection. It is not recommended that people wear masks when they are in public. Masks can be useful in some settings, such as a clinic waiting room, to prevent someone who has a respiratory illness from spreading it to others. There is no hard evidence that wearing a mask protects the wearer outside of the healthcare setting.
  • Don’t flush Disinfecting Wipes, Paper Towel or Flushable Wipes down your toilet.  They can clog sewer lines and cause plumbing issues in your home.

Need More Information?

  • Ruth Jones
    Health Commissioner
    (617) 376-1272
  • City of Quincy COVID-19 Informational Hotline
    (617) 376-1288
  • Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services
    (617) 376-1500

Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Actions To Expand Health Care Workforce, Other Actions To Support Providers, Business During COVID-19

The Baker-Polito Administration announced Monday (March 30th) new actions that will support efforts to expand the Commonwealth’s health care workforce by expediting licensing for certain health care workers and onboarding for health care volunteers who have signed up through the Administration’s new online volunteer portal.

The Administration also outlined a Department of Public Health order that will support continuing steps being taken to expand care capacity for older adults infected with COVID-19, in addition to other actions designed to support providers and businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Expedited Onboarding Of Health Care Volunteers: Last week, the Administration launched an initiative to recruit volunteer medical professionals to support hospitals as the Commonwealth continues to expand medical capacity. Since launching the initiative, more than 1,800 volunteers have already signed up, reflective of the Commonwealth’s world-class health care workforce. To support expedited onboarding of these volunteers, the Department of Public Health has issued an order authorizing the Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management to perform a CORI check on any volunteer who registered through the volunteer portal without a notarized CORI acknowledgement form. The Order requires any entity performing a CORI check pursuant to the Order to implement sufficient compensating controls to reasonably verify an individual’s identity, including inspection of a photographic form of government issued identification via teleconference.

Read the Order.

On-Demand Licensing For Health Professionals: To further support the Commonwealth’s health care workforce, the Department of Public Health has issued an order designed to provide on-demand licensing and re-licensing for certain health care professionals. The Order expedites licensing for professionals with licenses in good standing in other states, and professionals who have allowed their Massachusetts licenses to expire within the past 10 years while in good standing. This order applies to a wide range of health professionals: registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, advanced practice registered nurse, dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant, pharmacist, pharmacy technician, nursing home administrator, physician assistant, respiratory therapist, perfusionist, genetic counselor, community health worker and emergency medical technician.

Read the Order.

Expanding Care Capacity: As part of its efforts to expand existing health care capacity, the Administration’s COVID-19 Response Command Center is working with long-term care facilities to establish dedicated skilled nursing facilities to care for individuals infected with COVID-19. The initiative offers an alternative location where individuals who are stable but still need medical care can be transferred to recover, relieving pressure on hospitals and opening up hospital beds for the treatment of patients with the greatest medical need. The transfer of existing residents out of participating facilities will be handled with the utmost care. The Administration has received federal approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for this initiative.

The Department of Public Health has issued an order waiving certain MassHealth regulations regarding the transfers and discharge of long-term care facility residents, for the limited purpose of safely transferring and discharging all residents living in a long-term care facility that is intended to be used as a designated COVID-19 facility. The Command Center has worked with the Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Worcester to start this effort, which will help bring 300 skilled nursing facility beds online in central Massachusetts. The Command Center will continue to work with long-term care facilities to add care capacity for older adults.

Read the Order.

Read the letter to providers outlining the program.

Financial Relief For Care Providers: Governor Baker today issued an order providing the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) administrative flexibility to extend financial relief to providers of critical health care and social services that serve EOHHS clients, including members of MassHealth. The financial relief may be in the form of temporary rate adjustments, supplemental payments, and new rate and payment methodologies that reflect the modified ways services are being delivered. These measures will be subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. This will allow EOHHS to extend critical financial support to:

  • Providers that are facing extraordinary demand due to the COVID-19 emergency, while, at the same time, have lost significant revenue because they have had to cancel other procedures and appointments;
  • Providers that are necessary to keep vulnerable individuals safe in their homes or residences and out of more acute settings like hospitals; and
  • Human service providers that have been forced to respond to the unanticipated circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic by altering the way they deliver services and the hours and scope of these services.

Read the Order.

Shareholder Meeting Requirements: Under Massachusetts law, public companies can permit shareholders and their proxies to participate in annual or special shareholder meetings by remote communication, but they are also required to hold a meeting in a physical space that shareholders can attend in person. Given the challenges of meeting such requirements while non-essential workers are required to stay home and gatherings are limited to 10 people, Governor Baker today issued an order adjusting this meeting requirement. The Governor’s order permits public companies to hold annual or special shareholder meetings completely by means of remote communication, until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency. Additionally, if a public company has already sent written notice to its shareholders of an annual or special meeting to be held in a physical location, this order allows that company to notify its shareholders that the meeting now will be held solely through remote communication without mailing another notice, provided they issue a press release, send email notice where possible, and take other reasonable steps to notify their shareholders of the change.

Read the Order.

Sean M. Graham, 45

Sean M. Graham, age 45, of Quincy, formerly of Dorchester, died peacefully, March 22, 2020, at Carney Hospital, in the comfort of his loving family.

Sean Graham

Born in Dorchester, he was raised and educated in Quincy and attended Quincy High School. Sean was employed as a cook in various restaurants for many years. He also worked with his friend assisting him with the installation of water heaters.

Sean enjoyed bowling and shooting pool.

Loving father of Kayla N. Graham of Quincy.

Beloved son of Robert V. Graham of Dorchester and the late Roberta E. (Dooling) Graham.

Devoted brother of Kelsey Graham of Salem, Andrew Graham of Taunton, and the late Amy E. Graham.

Dear grandson of Francis V. Graham of Dorchester.

Nephew of Rachel Otka of Connecticut.

He was also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

In light of current events, funeral services will be private. Memorial services will be held at a later date.

For those who wish, donations in Sean’s memory may be made to the charity of your choice.

Bernadeta B. Karosas

Bernadeta B. (Mimgaudis) Karosas, of Quincy, died March 26, 2020.

Bernadeta Karosas

Bernadeta’s family and faith were the center of her heart and life.  Holidays, celebrations, and family gatherings kept her close to the ones she loved.  She also enjoyed shopping, gardening, and trips to Vermont.  Mrs. Karosas was a member of the Lithuanian Social Club and St. Peter Lithuanian Church in S. Boston.  She will be remembered as a giving person, who had a deep faith, and exhibited unconditional love to all those she met.

Beloved wife of the late Rimvydas “Raymond” Karosas.  Loving mother of Algis Karosas and his wife Alison of VT, Daina Rosa of Boston, and Ruta Beach and her husband Rick of Quincy.  Sister of Irene Hannigan of DE, and pre-deceased by five siblings.  Grandmother of Raymond Laverty, Alyssa Beach, Tyler Beach, Ryan Beach, Kaitlin Beach, Aleksandra Karosas, Tasija Karosas, and Maya Karosas.  Also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Expressions of sympathy may be made in Bernadeta’s memory to nonprofits helping to respond to COVID-19 or your favorite charity.

Normally, the funeral is an opportunity for the community to gather in support of one another. Although we cannot gather together with Bernadeta’s family at this time, friends may still offer their support by visiting www.Keohane.com and sharing a special memory or message.  For those who cannot access the website, please call 1-800-KEOHANE to have your message added.

35 Deaths From COVID-19 In MA; Positive Cases State-Wide 3,240

For the second day in a row, 10 new deaths from COVID-19-related illness were announced by state public health officials on Friday (March 27th), as the number of people tested in Massachusetts grew to over 29,000.

There were 823 new positive cases reported in the state in 24 hours, bringing the total number of positive cases to 3,240 in Massachusetts.

In Quincy, four residents have died from complications due to COVID-19 as of March 26. The city also reported 62 confirmed and presumptive cases of the virus. Twelve Quincy residents have recovered from the virus according to the city.

The 10 new deaths were men and women who ranged in age from their 60s to their 90s and who lived in Bristol, Barnstable, Middlesex, Franklin, Berkshire, and Norfolk counties.

They are:

  • Male, 60s, Berkshire County, preexisting conditions, hospitalized
  • Female, 80s, Norfolk County, unknown preexisting condition, hospitalization unknown
  • Female, 80s, Norfolk County, unknown preexisting condition, hospitalized
  • Female, 80s, Norfolk County, preexisting conditions, hospitalization unknown
  • Female, 90s, Berkshire County, unknown preexisting condition, hospitalized
  • Male, 60s, Norfolk County, unknown preexisting condition, hospitalization unknown
  • Female, 90s, Franklin County, unknown preexisting condition, hospitalization unknown
  • Male, 80s, Middlesex County, preexisting conditions, hospitalization unknown
  • Male, 90s, Barnstable County, unknown preexisting condition, hospitalized
  • Female, 90s, Bristol County, preexisting conditions, hospitalization unknown

Thirty-five Massachusetts residents have now died from COVID-19 related illness, up from 25 deaths March 26.

A total of 29,371 Massachusetts residents have been tested for COVID-19 by the State Public Health Laboratory, commercial and clinical labs, a jump of 5,750 tests since yesterday. The DPH daily online dashboard reflects testing results for 20 clinical and commercial labs performing testing in Massachusetts, in addition to results from the State Public Health Laboratory.

Expanded testing capacity in Massachusetts continues to be a focus of the work of the COVID-19 Response Command Center, and the effort to increase testing capacity across the state will continue.

COVID-19 activity is increasing in Massachusetts. At this time, if people are only mildly symptomatic, they should speak to their healthcare provider about whether they need to be assessed in person. If not, they should stay at home while they are sick. Asymptomatic family members should practice social distancing and immediately self-isolate if they develop symptoms.

In the United States, there have been 85,356 cases of COVID-19 and 1,246 deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jurisdictions reporting cases include all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.

In Massachusetts and nationwide, the public is being asked to avoid crowds, stay 6 feet away from others, not shake hands or hug, and call/Facetime and online chat with friends and loved ones rather than meet face to face.

To keep updated regarding COVID-19 in Massachusetts, residents can text “COVIDMA” to 888-777 to receive COVID-19 text message alerts straight to their phone.  More information about COVID-19 can be found at www.mass.gov/covid19. For general questions, a 24/7 hotline is available by calling 2-1-1.