COVID-19 Update #6 From Representative Dykema

New Updates as of March 22nd

Below is a summary of the most recent efforts to respond to the wide range of needs in our communities. For a summary of previously issued guidance and state restrictions related to the coronavirus epidemic, visit mass.gov/coronavirus. For previous updates visit carolyndykema.com/covid19.

Coronavirus Testing and Response

  • The first privately owned urgent care center in Massachusetts starting to conduct drive thru testing for COVID-19. AFC Urgent Care in Waltham is testing pre-screened patients waiting to be tested. 
  • The new site opening in Waltham follows the announcement of a CVS Shrewsbury pilot location on Thursday, one of 40 CVS drive thru locations in the U.S.
  • Guidance continues to be that if you do not have symptoms, or if your symptoms are mild and you are able to stay home, please self-quarantine. If you believe your symptoms require medical treatment or if you have a special circumstance that may indicate that testing is necessary, call your healthcare provider to obtain the necessary order before you’re able to be tested.
  • The state is continuing to work with the federal government, private entities, health care providers, and local health authorities to procure and respond to increased need for testing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPEs) for healthcare providers.

Healthcare

  • MassHealth and the Health Connector will protect coverage for all individuals who have Medicaid coverage as of March 18, 2020 and for all individuals approved for coverage during the national emergency. 
    • This protection will extend through one month after end of the national emergency. 
    • Coverage will only end if an individual requests termination of eligibility or if they are no longer a resident of the state. Members will not lose coverage or see a decrease in benefits for any other reason. 
    • For individuals who have received notices that their coverage ended after March 18, 2020, no change in coverage will occur. These individuals do not have to send in any paperwork to keep their coverage, it is protected.

Workforce and Employment

  • The Department of Unemployment Assistance held its first in a series of online public town hall meetings today to answer questions about filing a claim for unemployment insurance. Town halls will provide the public with an opportunity to hear information and ask questions relative to eligibility for the unemployment assistance program and guidance on filing a claim. Town halls are currently scheduled for Monday 3/23, Tuesday 3/24 (Spanish), Wednesday 3/25, and Friday 3/27. Visit mass.gov/unemployment/townhall for instructions on how to participate.
  • A recording of all of the questions and answers addressed at today’s town hall will be posted online at mass.gov/unemployment. Some of the information provided on today’s call includes:
    • Self-employed and 1099 employees are not currently eligible for unemployment benefits but will become eligible if the President makes a disaster unemployment declaration.
    • For those claiming unemployment benefits, the 26-week limit for benefits cannot be extended. These benefits can be extended if increased unemployment growth hits federally-prescribed triggers.
    • Pending federal legislation has the potential to increase the availability of unemployment benefits and updates on both federal and state programs will be posted regularly to mass.gov/unemployment/covid-19.
    • If you are having difficulty getting a return call from the unemployment claims office, its recommended that you complete the online “DUA Contact Form for those with special needs, language difficulties” on the right side of the page at mass.gov/unemployment/covid-19 and you will receive a call back as promptly as possible. This form is now available for use for all applicants.

Holliston Pantry Shelf – The Pantry is open for delivery only. If you are not a previous patron of the Pantry and are in need of services, contact Keely Krantz at info@hollitonpantryshelf.org or on her cell 774-244-0170. The Pantry is still accepting donations of goods, including toilet paper. Please visit the website for specific needs.

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