COVID-19: July 13, 2020 Update from Representative Dykema

July 13 Coronavirus Update

I hope you had a safe and restful weekend. Today, July 13th, the City of Boston has joined the rest of the state in entering our Phase 3 of reopening, which includes updated guidance on gatherings, expanded operation of some indoor-oriented businesses, and adjustments to outdoor recreational activity safety standards.

Many of you are likely anxious about the news from around the country of increasing positive case numbers in several states. As case numbers continue to climb elsewhere, here in Massachusetts strong compliance with safety guidance and positive health trends mean we are increasingly able to safely operate businesses and engage in social activities. To continue these positive trends here at home, social distancing and mask use when social distancing is not possible remain essential.

Ideally, we should all take advantage of summer weather to prioritize outdoor-focused activities where you can safely remain 6 feet apart from those who do not live with you. If you are not able to stay socially-distant, covering your mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering that fits snugly is essential to keeping yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors safe. As always, if you believe you may be sick, please check your symptoms and contact your health care provider. If you have concerns about the safety of a workplace, you can submit a report to the state Attorney General’s Office.

New Updates

Coronavirus Testing and Response

Source: Department of Public Health data
  • Today, the state saw 230 new reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 111,827 total cases and 5 reported deaths as of today at 4pm. 
  • The average new cases over the last 7 days is 241, and the average number of deaths is 19.
  • The 7-day weighted average positive test rate in Massachusetts is 1.7%.
  • 570 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, a decrease of 13 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 7/13, 36% of the Commonwealth’s 12,200 permanent and temporary hospital beds are available for new patients if needed. In the MetroWest region, 43% of the region’s 2,100 beds are available for new patients.
  • Long-term care: As of 7/13, there are 369 long-term care facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 and 23,686 staff and residents in facilities who have tested positive for COVID-19. 5,277 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

  • 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 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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