COVID-19: June 23, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

June 23 Coronavirus Update

Source: Department of Public Health data

Unequal impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities has been well documented, both in Massachusetts and around the country. Identifying and addressing these disparate impacts is a key element of our pandemic response as well as ongoing efforts to reduce disparities in health outcomes across the Commonwealth.

Last month, the Legislature passed a law creating a task force to investigate disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable communities, in particular on people and communities of color. The administration also convened a COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group to address these issues, whose report was released this past weekend.

Key recommendations include:

  • Continuing to disaggregate COVID data across populations and sectors, such as transit usage.
  • Increasing equitable distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers and Commonwealth residents in professions most at risk.
  • Implement policies that increase housing stability for populations disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.
  • Prioritizing investment in multilingual outreach to communities to increase access to testing, home and workplace protections, and access to state assistance programs.
  • Planning and implementing a strategy for the active engagement and representation of existing community based organizations in the most-impacted communities as part of decision-making processes related to COVID-19 response and recovery.

You can download and read the full report online and view the list of Advisory Group members here.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state has 107,439 total reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 229 new cases and 16 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 222, and the average number of deaths is 32.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.9%.
  • 953 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 33 from yesterday.
  • The Department of Public Health regularly releases 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.

Health Care System

  • Hospital Capacity: As of 6/23, 36% of the Commonwealth’s 12,400 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 44% of the region’s 2,300 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 6/23, there are 369 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 23,237 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 4,970 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in long-term care facilities.

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

Safer at Home: As of May 18, the statewide stay-at-home advisory is now the  Safer at Home advisory. In many ways, this advisory remains in the same spirit as previous policies: You should practice social distancing and limit your non-essential interactions as much as possible. 

Face Covering: As reopening continues, the statewide face covering advisory remains in effect for public indoor and outdoor spaces in situations where social distancing is not possible. The full advisory and detailed guidance can be found online.

Reopening Guidance: For more information on the state’s phased reopening plan and particular industry-specific guidance, visit mass.gov/reopening. For questions about business reopening timelines, visit this page.

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

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.

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