COVID-19: May 16, 2020 Update From Representative Dykema

May 16 Coronavirus Update

When we read a newspaper or scan a newsfeed these days, it’s hard to find information that’s not somehow related to coronavirus. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times by the sheer scope and impact of the times we are living through. 

As you may remember, this past Wednesday’s newsletter indicated that I’d be scaling back some of these daily news releases to limit the potential for “information overwhelm.”  Daily emails are a lot for anyone’s inbox. I concluded the notice with a request for your feedback – and you certainly responded! An overwhelming number of you requested that the newsletter format not be changed at all, and that I should continue sending daily updates. 

Thank you for the feedback, and I’ve heard you. The office will continue to send emails in their current format for the foreseeable future. At this time, it’s appropriate to take a moment to publicly recognize my Chief of Staff, David Melly for his tireless work pulling together all of the daily news and notices. David pores over many sources of daily information to select, synthesize and summarize the information you receive. I’m very grateful to have such a hardworking and talented staff. The newsletter, quite literally, wouldn’t be possible without David’s efforts.

As you have in the past, I hope you will continue to send suggestions for how we can improve the content or presentation of the information. I’ve always embraced the notion of continuous improvement, and good ideas are always welcome. Thank you to those of you who have already taken the time to share your thoughts and suggestions, a number of them been integrated into the current format.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my garden enjoying the spring flowers and sunshine. I hope you are able to enjoy at least some of the beautiful weather outdoors this weekend.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • There are 84,933 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 1,512 new cases and 113 deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • Overall, over 448,000 tests have been conducted by public and private sources. 12% of the 12,410 tests reported today were positive.
  • 2,692 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 75 from yesterday.
  • The Department of Public Health has regularly released a daily reporting dashboard containing detailed information on hospitalizations, demographic data, and county-by-county breakdowns of cases. To view the DPH dashboard, visit here.

Local Resources

All of the towns in the 8th Middlesex District now have centralized COVID-19 resource pages with resources, updates, and alerts regarding town services.

HollistonHopkintonSouthboroughWestborough

The Department of Public Health also releases weekly reports on town-by-town COVID-19 case numbers and rates, which can be found online here.

Resources for Residents Experiencing Job Loss or Loss of Income

COVID-19 is causing broad disruption to the economy which is affecting incomes of many residents and families. There are a number of state resources and supports available to support workers who may find themselves unemployed or otherwise income-constrained during this uncertain time. 

Guide for job/income loss resourceshttps://carolyndykema.com/covid19-state-resources

Department of Unemployment Assistancehttps://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-unemployment-assistance

Department of Transitional Assistancehttps://www.mass.gov/dta-covid-19-resources-and-support

How You Can Help

Holliston Youth and Family Services requests your support of the Community Action Fund, which provides emergency assistance to those affected by COVID-19. Learn more or donate here.

The Westborough Rotary Club has launched a COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to provide assistance to those affected by COVID-19. Learn more or donate here.

The American Red Cross is asking for blood donations, the need for which is significant due to blood drive cancellations.  The need is dire due to the cancellation of hundreds of blood drives. People can donate at the Worcester American Red Cross Donor Center, 381 Plantation St. Worcester or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Some local donor sites, including the Natick Senior Center, are available for appointments as well.

Information on our local food pantries can be found below. The most pressing need right now is cash donations to ensure that food drop-off and delivery do not inadvertently contribute to the spread of the virus.

Holliston Pantry Shelf | Project Just Because | Southborough Food Pantry | Westborough Food Pantry

Current Statewide Advisories

Stay at Home: Due to evolving spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Governor Baker has directed the Department of Public Health to issue a stay at home advisoryResidents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities until May 18th. Residents over 70 years of age or with underlying health conditions, who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19, should limit social interactions with other people unless absolutely necessary. 

Face Covering: To maintain behaviors that limit the spread of COVID-19 and to prepare for the precautions necessary once the state begins to reopen, Governor Baker has issued an advisory requiring masks or cloth face coverings in public indoor and outdoor spaces in situations where social distancing is not possible. The full advisory and detailed guidance can be found online.

A list of all executive orders in place during the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 state of emergency can be found here.

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