COVID-19: July 10, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

July 10 Coronavirus Update

It’s been great to see many of our small local businesses reopen over the past few weeks. It’s been inspiring to watch proprietors embracing the significant challenges around safe reopening in order to help move their businesses and the economy forward. For patrons, going out to dinner and socializing again (while taking precautions) has been a welcome relief for so many of us. It’s also great to have the chance to support local business owners with our wallets, as they work to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

It was very encouraging to see the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index for June rise 6.9 points to 49.0, just a point below the level that denotes an optimistic outlook among employers. This is a strong statement about the resilience of our business owners, and hopefully about their confidence in the commonwealth’s public health response to the crisis. This is welcome news and suggests that the Massachusetts economy may be starting to realize benefits of our data driven and cautious path toward the “new normal.” It’s also an opportunity to recognize the commitment and perseverance of our residents who have continued to be vigilant about wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 152 new reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 105,290 total cases and 28 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 212, and the average number of deaths is 21.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.6%.
  • 632 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 3 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.

Heath Care

  • Hospital Capacity: As of 7/10, 33% of the Commonwealth’s 12,400 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 41% of the region’s 2,200 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 7/10, there are 369 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 23,648 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,258 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in long-term care facilities.
  • For information on COVID-19 testing and guidance on whether you should get tested, how to get tested, and where to get tested, visit the COVID-19 testing portal at mass.gov/gettested.

Reopening Update

  • Phase 3 (“Vigilant”) of the Commonwealth’s phased reopening plan began on Monday, July 6th. Industry reopening sector-specific guidance can be found online, and more information on Phase 3 can be found here.
  • Under the updated gatherings order, indoor gatherings are limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, but should not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed, indoor space. More information on the order, which is in effect for all municipalities except Boston (where the order goes into effect July 13), can be found here.
  • If you have questions about whether a business is able to reopen and when remaining industries will be reopening, visit this page. As always, you can submit questions or comments to the Reopening Advisory Board here.

Local Update

  • You can find this week’s DPH report on town-by-town COVID-19 testing and case numbers here, as well as counts of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities across the Commonwealth. Our towns’ numbers are below (through 7/1):
    • Holliston: 56 (+0)
    • Hopkinton: 131 (+6)
    • Southborough: 42 (+1)
    • Westborough: 335 (+0)
  • In compliance with the new statewide data collection law, DPH has also begun reporting COVID-19 testing and infection rates at all state facilities, including state hospitals and congregate care facilities. You can find that report here.
  • The weekly report to the Supreme Judicial Court of COVID-19 testing and positive cases at jails and corrections facilities can be found here.

Legislative Update

  • This week, the House voted to pass legislation giving the Department of Public Health authority to expand EEE control efforts during times of public health emergency. 
  • The House also voted on legislation to analyze the impacts of remote learning on all children during the COVID-19 crisis with a focus on understanding the disparate educational impacts on children served by foster children and those served by the Dept. of Children and Families. 

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.

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